WASHINGTON, July 9, 2014 - Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon today announced the release of nearly $34 million in Fiscal Year 2014 funds to WIC agencies in states, territories, and Indian tribal organizations in support of technology improvements in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). USDA works in partnership with state and local health agencies to provide supplemental foods, nutrition education, health referrals and breastfeeding support to over 8 million low-income women, infants and young children who are nutritionally at risk. The grants will be used to expand use of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) systems in WIC, as well as to replace and improve management information systems to promote greater efficiencies in WIC clinics.
“With the WIC Program now reaching just over half of all babies born in the United States, we must take every opportunity to strengthen the program by using the latest technology available,” Concannon said. “These investments will also allow us to improve integrity in the delivery of benefits for both participants and retailers.”
The grants announced today will build on the success of previous investments made in WIC technology and bring the WIC program closer to achieving nationwide EBT use by October 2020, as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Currently, only nine states (Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming, Virginia, West Virginia) and four Indian tribal organizations (Cherokee Nation, Okla.; Chickasaw Nation, Okla.; Pueblo of Isleta, N.M. and Inter-tribal Council of Nevada) offer WIC benefits solely using EBT.
WIC agencies selected to receive technology grants and the amounts are as follows:
Chickasaw Nation, Okla.*
District of Columbia
Five Sandovol Pueblos, N.M*
Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona*
Wichita, Caddo & Delaware, Okla.*
(* These grantees will receive the grant funds on behalf of various agency consortiums.)
More information about the WIC Program can be found at www.fns.usda.gov/wic.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs. In addition to WIC, these programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the National School Lunch Program, and the Summer Food Service Program which together comprise America's nutrition safety net.