The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) requires USDA to implement a program to recognize exemplary breastfeeding support practices at Women, Infants, and Children (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.
While HHFKA mandates that the USDA provide a program to recognize exemplary breastfeeding support practices, it is voluntary for the WIC local agencies and clinics to apply for an award. Information is collected from the WIC local agencies to apply for an award and used by the WIC state agencies to evaluate the applications.
The award application period is open once annually and has been designed to allow local WIC agencies at different stages of progress in breastfeeding promotion and support program development to apply for an award. The information collection will meet the HHFKA requirement to implement a program to recognize exemplary breastfeeding support practices at WIC local agencies and clinics.
The information collected through this program will be used to evaluate components of existing breastfeeding programs and support within WIC local agencies, to recognize local WIC agencies that provide exemplary breastfeeding programs and support services, and to provide examples of model programs to motivate local agencies and clinics to strengthen their breastfeeding promotion and support activities.