OCTOBER 12 2021
Congress Passes Temporary Extension to CVB Increase and Extension of Govt. Funding

At the end of September, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution, avoiding government shutdown and extending federal funding through December 3, 2021. The bill included a provision to extend the increase to CVB WIC benefits through December 31, 2021 at a rate aligned with expert recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine of $24/month for children, $43/month for pregnant and postpartum participants, and $47/month for breastfeeding participants.
USDA to Form Equity Commission
USDA announced the formation of an Equity Commission that will advise the Secretary of Agriculture on steps that USDA can take to dismantle barriers to inclusion or access, systemic discrimination, and racial, economic, health, and social disparities. NWA submitted comments in August 2021 and provided direct stakeholder feedback last month, outlining a series of steps that USDA could take to improve access to nutrition programs and expand WIC’s role in advancing health equity. If you would like to nominate someone to serve on USDA’s Equity Commission or have further questions, please reach out by Friday, October 22 to Noora Kanfash, NWA’s State Public Policy Manager.
2021 CA Legislative Season Closes Out
Last weekend Gov. Newsom acted on the remaining bills of this legislative session. Using the budget and legislative processes, the Governor focused on the California Comeback Plan, to address both long standing and pandemic created challenges for California. It was an exceptional year with an unexpected budget surplus resulting in a $262 billion budget and the recall of the Governor. Below are a couple areas of interest.
Gov. Newsom Signs "Momnibus"
Gov. Newsom signed the SB 65, the "Momnibus Bill," which will address disparities in maternal mortality in CA and provide benefits such as Medi-Cal coverage of doulas, required reporting and investigating of maternal and fetal deaths, and training of more midwives. In order to allow for the successful implementation of the doula benefits, DHCS is adjusting the launch date for these benefits from January 1, 2022, to July 1, 2022. Additional time is needed to work with stakeholders and health plans, review their input, and allow time for health plans to prepare to offer these services. Please visit the doula services webpage for more information.
WIC Wins in CA Legislation & Budget
On behalf of the 84 WIC local agencies, CWA is very happy to have secured flexibilities in the contracts local agencies have with CDPH to provide WIC benefits, which are 100% USDA funded. Inflexibilities were prohibiting local agencies from maximally spending their USDA funds, with unspent funds, $14 million in 2020, being returned to USDA. Additionally, inflexibilities resulted in unexpected costs for local WIC agency administrations, which include health centers, health departments, hospitals and non-profits. The new flexibilities will ensure WIC funds are used for the local agencies and the communities they serve. In another win, the state budget included a one-time allotment of $5 million for books to be distributed to families through WIC agencies. WIC agencies have provided early literacy and school readiness for WIC families for over a decade, a cost not included in USDA WIC funds. Evaluation of the Little by Little program, provided by WIC agencies in Los Angeles, shows improved school readiness outcomes. 
AB 123 Vetoed
Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 123, which would have increased the amount of income California workers would receive while using the state’s Paid Family Leave program to bond with a newborn, or care for a sick loved one. We are disappointed that taking the paid family leave that they're entitled to will continue to be out of financial reach for so many low-income California workers.
WIC Wellness Wednesdays!

We have some special guests for next week’s WIC Wellness Wednesday. Please join us for Reset for Fall: Creating Your Personalized Wellness Roadmap, 10/20, 12:00-12:45pm. As an employee, we have so many priorities, our own health becomes last on the list. Wellness Coach Kelley Axelson and Envisioning Expert Corinne Ferris will help you sort through the daily challenges alongside your peers. In this 45 min session you will:
  • Get clarity on why your health should be a priority
  • Gain simple and easy tips to integrate health and mental wellness into your daily schedule
  • Walk away with a personalized roadmap for success
After the session, you will also have access to free envisioning meditations and subsequent journal prompts and easy, family friendly recipes. Please register here. WIC staff and community partners welcome!
Also, please join us on 10/27, for the third in a series with Dr. Tony Gryffin. Tony will be teaching the Portable Peace Practices Session Three: Enhancing Alignment and Relieving Back Strain. Tai chi has been identified as an easy and practical enhancement for strengthening balance and reducing risk of falls. This session will focus on shifting weight between movements, with a particular focus on balance. Register here. If you missed the first few, don’t worry, they were recorded, and you can join any sessions at any time and you won’t feel like you are behind! 

Work Requirements Reduce Access to SNAP, Don't Improve Self-Sufficiency
Proponents of work requirements for social safety net programs argue that they promote self-sufficiency by encouraging work, while opponents contend that they reduce benefits for the most vulnerable recipients in times of need. An examination of the impact of the reinstatement of work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the US following a hiatus during the Great Recession finds that work requirements do not appear to improve economic self-sufficiency, while substantially reducing benefits paid to program recipients.

WHO Recommends First Malaria Vaccine
Malaria kills about half a million people each year, nearly all of them in sub-Saharan Africa — including 260,000 children under 5. The new vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, rouses a child’s immune system to thwart Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest of five malaria pathogens and the most prevalent in Africa.

Congress Attempts to Address Gaps in Childcare, Early Ed Access
Rich countries contribute an average of $14,000 per year for a toddler’s care, compared with $500 in the U.S. The Democrats’ spending bill tries to shrink the gap in access to childcare and early education.

Pfizer Requests FDA Authorization for Kids' COVID-19 Vaccine
Pfizer has requested FDA authorization for emergency use for its COVID-19 vaccine in children 5-11 years old. The FDA vaccine advisory group is scheduled to meet on the matter on October 26th.
Rapid Tests and How To Use Them
Testing isn’t a substitute for getting the vaccine, but rapid home testing can lower the risk of spreading COVID, ease the worry and help you get back to life. Check out this guide to at-home rapid tests and how to use them.
Affordable Housing
Affordable housing provides more than just shelter. It can positively impact child development, education, mental and physical health, and other social and economic factors. WIC Can Help by referring families to local resources for rental assistance, subsidized housing, foreclosure prevention, and other ways to keep a roof over their heads.
Support CWA online!
As a nonprofit membership organization, CWA relies on the contributions of many organizations and individuals to help us achieve our mission. There are many ways to give of your time, talents, or resources to help CWA promote healthy families, strong communities, and bright futures! We appreciate all forms of support and invite you to join us!
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