Women, Infants & Children
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children known as WIC is a public health nutrition program that offers breastfeeding education and support, referrals, nutrition education, and supplemental nutritious foods to those who qualify. Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding up to a year after delivery, or non-breastfeeding up to 6 months after delivery, along with infants and children until they turn 5 years old are all potentially eligible for the program. WIC’s income guidelines are 185% above the poverty level so many working families still qualify for the program.
Clients set an appointment and bring proof of ID, address, and income to determine their eligibility. Every client meets with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Registered Nurse (RN) to establish their nutritional need and for one-on-one educational counseling. Clients are referred to other programs that may be beneficial like Medicaid, Healthy Families, smoking cessation, doctor, etc. The RDN or RN builds a supplemental food package for each client and issues vouchers that are redeemed at WIC approved stores throughout Indiana. Clients return about every 3 months for nutrition education and food voucher issuance, but a certification typically lasts a year.
WIC is available in each state and territory of the United States. It is a federal government nutrition program run through the USDA. Indiana WIC is run through the Indiana State Department of Health. Within Indiana, agencies are sponsored in each county by either a health department, hospital, or nonprofit. Community and Family Services sponsors WIC in 6 counties in north eastern Indiana consisting of Adams, Blackford, Huntington, Jay, Randolph, and Wells.
Indiana WIC offers a variety of foods. The average food package value is $37.26 per month. Foods that are offered to women and children on WIC are milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, whole grain bread, brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat pastas, 100% juice, cereal, beans, peanut butter, and fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Fully breastfeeding women can also get chunk light tuna or salmon. After 6 months of age, infants can receive infant cereal and baby food fruits and vegetables. A fully breastfeeding infant will also receive baby food meats and non-breastfeeding infant will receive a supplemental package of formula.
Each state is required to do a formula rebate reauthorization every 3 years. Gerber Goodstart has the current contract with Indiana WIC which means the ONLY standard formulas that can be provided by Indiana WIC are Gerber Goodstart brand.
WIC is an important breastfeeding advocate in the community. Highly trained professionals are on staff along with Peer Counselors who interact with women on a personal level to insure the most positive outcome for the mom and baby breastfeeding experience. WIC provides not only educational materials, but also the essential support that it takes to make breastfeeding successful.