This information collection is mandated by section 231 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) (PL 111-296). Section 231 of the HHFKA, requires USDA to implement a program to recognize exemplary breastfeeding support practices at WIC local agencies and clinics. The WIC Program provides breastfeeding promotion and support for pregnant and postpartum mothers as a part of its mission to improve the health of the approximately 6 million Americans it serves each month. Breastfeeding is a priority in WIC and WIC mothers are strongly encouraged to breastfeed their infants unless medically contraindicated.
In recognizing exemplary local agencies and clinics, the HHFKA requires that the Secretary consider the following criteria:
(1) Performance measurements of breastfeeding;
(2) the effectiveness of a peer counselor program;
(3) the extent to which the agency or clinic has partnered with other entities to build a supportive breastfeeding environment for women participating in WIC; and
(4) other criteria the Secretary considers appropriate after consultation with State and local program agencies.
The information will be submitted voluntarily by WIC local agencies who will be applying for an award. FNS will use the information collected to evaluate the components of existing breastfeeding programs and support in WIC local agencies and make decisions about awards. This program is expected to provide models and motivate local agencies and clinics to strengthen their breastfeeding promotion and support activities. To streamline the submission of the application components, FNS plans to explore the possibility of conducting the application and submission process via an online platform. The total estimated time to complete the application is not expected to change.
The award program for breastfeeding excellence was originally titled the Loving Support Award of Excellence, consistent with the former WIC breastfeeding campaign, Loving Support Makes Breastfeeding Work. In 2018, the WIC breastfeeding campaign was updated and rebranded as WIC Breastfeeding Support. Therefore, the name of the award program will be rebranded as the WIC Breastfeeding Award of Excellence.