The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 3, 2013

WIC funding OK for now

By Lora Scripps

— The Alabama Department of Public Health announced this week the future of the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program is uncertain due to the federal government shutdown.

On Thursday, Alabama WIC Program Director Amanda Martin said the federal government provided additional funds for WIC programs to operate.

Martin said the program would continue to see participants and issue benefits through the month of October. She said the only current change is participants will be limited to one month’s issuance of food benefits.

“It’s business as usual,” she said.

This fiscal year, the Alabama program has averaged 140,000 WIC participants statewide, according to Martin. The monthly cost of food is $9.2 million.

ADPH will continue to reassess funding based upon further developments with the federal budget, according to Martin.

WIC is a federal assistance program for health care and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants and children under the age of five.

There are approximately 8.9 million women and children who participate in WIC. Most live below the poverty level.

“We are being very watchful and working closely with funding sources to get participants what they need,” Martin said.