DHHS announces WIC vouchers will resume
The Department of Health and Human Services announced late Thursday evening that it had secured funding to resume the WIC program. The announcement comes after reports that North Carolina was the only state in the nation to stop issuing vouchers for formula and nutritional food for mothers and infants in response to the federal government shutdown.
Here’s more from the agency’s press release:
Secretary Aldona Wos announced today that the Department of Health and Human Services has secured additional funds to continue the WIC program as of October 11, 2013. DHHS has determined it can ensure the stability of the program through the end of October using lapsing funds from the previous fiscal year, additional contingency funds from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and product rebates from WIC formula manufacturer, Nestle Foods.
“By securing sufficient funds, we are able to continue supporting the women and children who depend on WIC,” said Secretary Aldona Wos. “Our state is one of the highest volume states for the WIC program so we take the impact of the shutdown very seriously.”
In response to the federal government shutdown, the issuance of WIC vouchers was suspended on October 8 because DHHS did not have sufficient funds to issue new vouchers.
“Because of the uncertainty of the federal shutdown, we know this may only be a temporary solution,” said Wos. “But we are committed to meeting the needs of the people of North Carolina.”
Local health departments are being notified to resume issuing WIC vouchers.
The WIC Program has an annual budget of $205 million. During September, the program provided supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education for almost 264,000 women, infants and young children in North Carolina. WIC also impacts more than 2,000 local grocery stores and other food businesses around the state.