Children (up to 5 years of age), women, and infants have a high nutritional risk. The WIC is a program that safeguards them with healthy food and medical support. These women and children belong to a low-income category and are at risk of not getting the proper nutrition. The aim is to give them information on healthy diets and provide them with nutritious food to enrich their diets. They are also provided with information and reference for health care.
In this program, federal grants to states for providing the facilities such as to protect the health and nutrition of the economically weaker citizens. At the federal level, WIC is administered by FNS (Food and Nutrition Service) under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 90 WIC state agencies work under forty-seven thousand authorized retailers.
Whom does WIC Cater?
WIC majorly serves low-income families, women and their infants, and children under five years of age. This age group is at high nutritional risk if they do not get a healthy diet. Hence, WIC is applicable for women during their pregnancy up to 6 months after the delivery of the child.
Breastfeeding women till her child’s one year of age, non-breastfeeding postpartum women up to 6 months after the end of pregnancy or childbirth; 53 per cent of all the infants ( till one year of age) born in the United States of America and children up to 5 years of age are all applicable for WIC program.
The facilities can be availed at the hospitals, community centres, health clinics, and mobile health vans and, the health departments of the county. Even schools, public housing sites, migrant health camps, and centres, and also the Indian Health Service facilities provide WIC.
Eligibility Requirements for WIC
There are four categories of requirements under the WIC program. These are Categorical, Residential, Income, and Nutritional Risk eligibility. Under the categorical criteria, women must be pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding. The infants get the benefits till their first birthday, whereas the children up to 5 years of age are eligible. The residential requirement requires the candidate to be a resident of the state in which they apply. Candidates applying in the state agency option must live in a local service area and find a local WIC clinic.
In some locations, the Indian Tribal Organisation (ITO) administers WIC. There might be a few extra residency qualifications that the ITO requires. The candidate should fulfill these accordingly.
According to the income criteria, the candidates should have income below the standard level set by the state. It cannot be more than 185 percent of the guideline provided by the state agency that is set each year by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Centres in Brooklyn
Some of the centres of the Brooklyn WIC clinics and offices include :
- Yeled V’Yalda Early Childhood Center
- Wyckoff Heights Medical Center
- Northern Brooklyn Health Network
- Maimonides Medical Center
- Kings County Hospital Center
- Sunset Park Family Health Center
Benefits of WIC
There are several benefits of the Women Infant and Children program. One of the main aims of WIC is to give breastfeeding education and support. There are policies to ensure the promotion of breastfeeding. Items like cereals, milk, egg, cheese, juice, peanut butter and canned fish are supplied as supplementary food to the people who have availed of WIC. These come in the WIC food packages. The information about the WIC food manufacturers and packaging is available on the official website.
Those who have availed of the scheme do not need to pay for the food products. Women and children are counselled. They are informed about the necessity of healthy eating. Efficient money-saving systems to afford fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, and other baby food, are taught. There are also several benefits of healthcare and social service under the program. WIC aims at maintaining the health security and safety of women and children primarily during and after childbirth. Thus, it is an immensely beneficial program.
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