Parent Warning: 2 Million Parents and Young Children Could Be Turned Away From WIC this Year 

If Congress Does Not Act Immediately, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children Will Face A Funding Emergency 

January 17, 2024 – The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides critically needed nutrition assistance for low-income families, faces a funding crisis that could soon impact parents, babies, and young children across the country who are struggling to make ends meet. 

WIC ensures access to fresh and healthy food and formula, breastfeeding support, and healthcare referrals for pregnant and postpartum parents, and their kids up to age 5. More than half of all new babies in the United States are eligible for this vital program. 

As Congress finalizes this year’s funding bills, it is critical that they meet President Biden’s emergency request to fully fund WIC, and honor a long-standing commitment to ensure WIC is able to serve every low-income family who seeks assistance. If they fail to do so by January 19, the program will face a  roughly $1 billion shortfall in 2024, which would require states to reduce WIC participation. Up to 2 million eligible young children and pregnant and postpartum adults with low incomes could be turned away by September, resulting in wait lists for the first time in decades. (See full data, including numbers in each state, here.)

“Republicans are refusing to fully fund the programs families desperately need, and now two million new parents, babies, and children could pay the price. If Congress doesn’t act immediately, new parents struggling to buy food and formula for their families will be turned away,” said Ailen Arreaza, Executive Director of ParentsTogether Action. “Congress cannot abandon pregnant people, new parents, and newborn babies and allow them to go hungry. They must fully fund WIC without delay.”

This summer, when Republican funding proposals outlined cuts to WIC, ParentsTogether Action conducted a survey of 500 of their members who would be impacted by potential WIC cuts. 

 The survey revealed that:

  • 64% of WIC recipients would have been unable to afford necessary formula to feed their infants without the program;
  • 52% of WIC recipients would have been unable to afford enough food for themselves;
  • 75% of WIC recipients said the program helped them afford nutritious foods that they would not have otherwise  been able to purchase;
  • 35% of WIC recipients said they would not have had the breastfeeding support necessary to breastfeed their children. 

You can see the full survey HERE