Home » CPCM Receives $1 Million Grant to Reach More Families Through Innovative WIC Outreach Efforts

CPCM Receives $1 Million Grant to Reach More Families Through Innovative WIC Outreach Efforts

The Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment (CPCM), a center of the University of South Dakota, has been awarded a $1 million grant to implement a WIC Community Innovation and Outreach Project (WIC CIAO). WIC CIAO is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (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.

“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.”

The CPCM was selected through a highly competitive grant process. The Center will use the grant to partner with WIC to expand partnerships with community organizations and use community-level data to develop and test WIC outreach efforts. The grant will amplify the voice of parenting adults from underserved populations in South Dakota who are WIC-eligible and/or who are parenting WIC-eligible children.

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 (10/2022-2/2023).

In 2020, only 50 percent 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 sign up for updates on WIC CIAO events and announcements.