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Women, Infants, Children Program Noted As One Of Top-Performing

Armen Hareyan's picture

Lane County's Women, Infants and Children program sees an average of 8,000 clients each month and is a well-used resource for families and families-to-be.

According to a recent assessment by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the federally funded WIC nutrition program is one of government's top-performing programs. The OMB found the WIC's 2006 performance had a positive impact on birth outcomes and children's nutrition and immunization rates. WIC also received high marks for efficient use of program funds and maximizing its ability to serve eligible clients.

"This assessment reaffirms the quality of services provided by the WIC program in our community and in communities throughout the state and nation. This is a valuable community resource," said Connie Sullivan, Lane County WIC Clinical Health Services coordinator.

Lane County WIC offers nutrition education (individual education and group classes), breastfeeding promotion and support services, and information and referral to other health programs like prenatal care, immunization and social service programs.

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The program provides services to pregnant women, postpartum women, infants and children under 5 years of age, and fathers, grandparents, foster parents or other guardians that may apply for WIC for their children.

At this time, the WIC Program still has room for more clients and appointments are readily available. However, the WIC Program is among the programs proposed for reduction if Lane County does not receive federal Secure Rural Schools funds. If budget cuts occur, WIC would lose $317,000 from the program budget.

"The level of WIC services would drop and significantly fewer clients would be served," said Sullivan of proposed budget cuts. "This would affect the number of appointments available for health screenings, determining program eligibility and for nutrition education. In the meantime, it is important for clients to continue to participate in the program in order to utilize current funds and continue to receive funding support from the state."

State health officials report that every year in Oregon WIC serves approximately 167,000 low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, and children under age 5 who have a health or nutrition risk. Department of Health Services data show:

Forty percent of Oregon babies born are to a mother who received WIC services while pregnant. (42 percent in Lane County