USDA Makes Funds Available to State Agencies to Help Keep Young Children in WIC

USDA Makes Funds Available to State Agencies to Help Keep Young Children in WIC
Posted on 05/03/2016
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WASHINGTON, May 3, 2016 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon today announced that approximately $2 million in grants is available to help state agencies retain young children in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program through age 5. Young children are vulnerable to a wide of variety of nutrition-related problems that can impair their development and growth, making WIC a crucial part of ensuring young children have a foundation for nutritional success.

Based on 2012 national and state level estimates, approximately 85 percent of income-eligible infants participate in WIC in their first year of life, totaling approximately half of all infants born in the U.S.  However, the percent of eligible children between the ages of one and four who participate in WIC is just 53 percent.

 “Over the past few years, appropriate retention of children participating in WIC has been identified as a challenge, evidenced by a significant drop in participation and risking the long-term health and nutrition effects after infants reach age one,” said Concannon. “These grants are a step forward to help the USDA address this issue and ensure young children continue to receive the nutritional support they need to grow up healthy and strong.”  

Applications proposing innovative strategies to improve child retention in the program are due June 15, and grants will be awarded later this year. The grants are divided into two classes: full and mini. Three full grants are anticipated to be awarded for up to $500,000 each over a three-year period, and grantees are required to present project findings to FNS in the spring of 2020. Recipients of up to six mini grants will be awarded up to $100,000 and each must present their findings by summer 2018.

The 90 WIC state agencies responsible for administering WIC in the states, territories, and Indian Tribal Organizations are eligible for the grants. When applying, lead state agencies can collaborate and partner with their local WIC offices, local colleges or universities, public health organizations, Head Start programs, or other similar programs that serve low-income families with children under 5 years of age to encourage holistic, community-based solutions

For more information on how to apply and contact information, visit at:

This announcement is part of USDA's continued commitment to ensuring children and families have access to a healthy diet. Over the past seven years, USDA has enhanced federal nutrition programs, providing a critical safety net for millions of American children and families. Some examples include, updated nutrition standards for school nutrition, the updated WIC package to include whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, expanding the scope of the SNAP nutrition education program, and supporting an unprecedented growth in the number of farmers markets that accept SNAP and WIC benefits. By expanding access to nutritious foods and increasing awareness about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, USDA programs have made a real difference in the lives of many, promising a brighter, healthier future for our nation.

WIC is one of FNS’s 15 nutrition assistance programs, which also include the National School Lunch Program, Summer Food Service Program, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  Together, these programs comprise America's nutrition safety net.




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