The Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment (CPCM), a center of the University of South Dakota, is set to host a grant announcement ceremony on Sept. 13 at 4 p.m. in Avera Hall, located on the USD – Sioux Falls campus. The center has been awarded a $1 million grant to implement a WIC Community Innovation and Outreach Project (WIC CIAO).
The announcement will include representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), South Dakota Department of Health and USD. Attendees will learn more about outreach efforts, plans for parent participation and early project outcomes. Refreshments will follow the brief program.
WIC CIAO is supported by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and aims to support efforts to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative outreach strategies to increase awareness, participation, and benefit redemption in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and reduce disparities in program delivery.
“USDA is committed to improving nutrition security and child health by helping more WIC-eligible families learn about and enroll in the program,” said Cheryl Kennedy, regional administrator for the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Mountain Plains Region. “We are excited that this grant supports the University of South Dakota’s planned outreach to the community to spread the word about the proven benefits of the WIC program.”
“Too many women and children in South Dakota are missing out on the nutrition they need in order to thrive,” said Darla Biel, interim director of the CPCM. “We are proud to be part of this critical initiative to identify new ways of connecting people to WIC. Overall, the WIC program aligns with several child abuse prevention strategies by providing support and education to parents, strengthening families, building social connections, screening for risk factors, and providing parenting support.”
In South Dakota, WIC provided healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding counseling and referrals for 13,725 participants, including 1,647 pregnant and postpartum individuals, 3,020 infants up to 12 months, and 7,983 children up to age 5 every month, on average this fiscal year (Oct. 2022 – Feb. 2023).
In 2020, only 50% of all eligible individuals nationwide participated in WIC, equating to a shortfall of almost 6 million individuals. The WIC CIAO Project aims to change that by expanding partnerships with community organizations and using community-level data to develop and implement innovative WIC outreach efforts.
Reaching more families with WIC will have positive impacts on the community. WIC has been shown to provide wide-ranging benefits, including longer, safer pregnancies, with fewer premature births and infant deaths; improved dietary outcomes for infants and children; improved maternal health; and improved performance at school, among others. In addition to health benefits, WIC participants showed significant savings in health care costs when compared to non-participants.
In total, there are 36 WIC CIAO awardees made up of WIC state and local agencies, including tribal nations, and nonprofit entities and organizations.
WIC CIAO is administered through a USDA cooperative agreement with the Food Research & Action Center, in partnership with the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, the Native American Agriculture Fund, and UnidosUS. WIC CIAO is part of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service broader initiative to modernize WIC.
Visit hellowic.org to find out more about the WIC CIAO Project and awardees, and visit sdcpcm.com/wic to find out more about South Dakota’s outreach efforts.
The Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment (CPCM), sdcpcm.com, joins local, tribal, state and federal efforts in the fight against child sexual abuse and other forms of maltreatment in South Dakota. CPCM is designed to help South Dakotans know of, respond to and prevent child maltreatment, while supporting resilient families.