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United States social welfare programs - Essay Example

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The essay aims to discuss the WIC program of the US government. The essay will present the mission, eligibility requirements, administration, benefits, and funding of the program. An evaluation of the program will also be discussed, showing some of its positive and negative points. …
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United States social welfare programs
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Download file to see previous pages The essay aims to discuss the WIC program of the US government. The essay will present the mission, eligibility requirements, administration, benefits, and funding of the program. An evaluation of the program will also be discussed, showing some of its positive and negative points. An evaluation of the program will also be discussed, showing some of its positive and negative points. Women, Infants and Children (WIC) The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) was established in 1972. The mission of WIC is “to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care” (USDA Food and Nutrition Service, n.d.). WIC is not a private institution. It is welfare program of the US government. The program is not universal because not all the citizens of the United States can avail of the program. Several categorical, residential, income and nutrition risk requirements must be met by the applicants. The applicants who are eligible for the program are pregnant women, breastfeeding women who have had a baby in the last 12 months, women who have had a baby in the last six months, infants and children up to five years of age. Applicants must also live in the State in which they apply. They must have an income at or below an income level or standard set by the State agency. The benefits are not monetary. The benefits provided by WIC include vouchers to buy supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education for women and their child, breastfeeding support and referrals to health, welfare and social community resources. WIC is 100% financed through a Federal grant program. Congress authorizes a specific amount of funds each year for the program. The WIC Program is funded by federal appropriations, with some states supplementing their federal grant with their own funds. The fund allocation for WIC requires that approximately 75% of the funds go to food benefits while 25% should be used for nutrition and administrative services (Carr, par.16). Over the past few years, the funding for WIC has risen substantially and was able to serve all eligible participants. However, since WIC is a discretionary program with fund allocation of Congress, it has to work within the available funds. If more families apply for WIC and it exceeds the available funding, it will result in a waiting list. The priority is then given to families based on the life stage of the children (Carr, par.6). WIC is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the Department of Agriculture. WIC is administered at the national and regional levels. It is administered by 90 WIC state agencies through approximately 47,000 authorized retailers. As stated in its website, WIC operates through 1,900 local agencies in 10,000 clinic sites, in 50 State health departments, 34 Indian Tribal Organizations, the District of Columbia, and five territories (Northern Mariana, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) (USDA Food and Nutrition Service, n.d.). According to a staff paper by the President’s Commission to Study Capital Budgeting, the WIC program protects and improves the health and nutritional level of low-income women, infants and children making it a very cost effective program (1998). According to the paper, for every dollar spent in WIC, it saves from $1.77 to $3.13 in health care cost. The WIC program is an effective program because it does not only provide the low-income families with healthy food but it also educates them about proper nutrition. WIC is not only a short term solution to a problem but rather a long term solution. If a family is no longer qualified for WIC; thus, will no longer have the benefit of healthy food, it will at least be able to buy the right food for the family because it already has a basic knowledge about proper nutrition. This will result in savings for the government in the long run. Another benefit offered by ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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