R406-200. Program Overview  

R406-200-1. Introduction and Background
Latest version.

(1) Under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1786 et seq.), as amended, Congress has found that substantial numbers of pregnant, postpartum and breast-feeding women, infants and young children from families with inadequate income are a special risk with respect to their physical and mental health by reason of inadequate nutrition or health care, or both. The purpose of the program is to provide supplemental foods and nutrition education through clinics to eligible persons. The program serves as an adjunct to good health care, during critical times of growth and development, in order to prevent the occurrence of health problems and improve the health status of these persons.

(2) The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a supplemental foods and nutrition education program funded by U.S.D.A. and administered by the Utah Department of Health, Division of Family Health and Preparedness, through local health departments.

(3) WIC provides specified nutritious food supplements and nutrition education to pregnant, postpartum and breast-feeding women, infants and children (up to five years of age) from families with inadequate income and who are determined by competent professionals (physicians, nutritionists, nurses and other trained health officials) to be at "nutritional risk".

(4) The following criteria shall be met to be eligible to receive supplemental foods:

(a) Category and Age:

(i) pregnant women for the duration of the pregnancy and up to six weeks postpartum;

(ii) breast-feeding women up to 12 months past delivery;

(iii) postpartum women up to six months past delivery;

(iv) infants and children up to five years of age.

(b) Residence: Residents of areas or members of populations served by the clinic and within the jurisdiction of the state.

(c) Income: Determined to be a member of a family or family group which has a gross income at or below 185% of the poverty guideline established by the federal government.

(d) Nutritional Risk: Certified by a competent professional authority on the staff of the clinic to be at nutritional need through a medical or nutritional assessment.

(5) Participants must be certified approximately every six months to one year to determine their eligibility for the program, unless the participant is a pregnant women. Pregnant women are certified for the duration of their pregnancy. The length of certification periods for all categories of participants is determined by U.S.D.A. regulations as listed in 7CFR 246.7(g).

(6) Upon certification for the program, eligible women, infants and children are issued checks to use for obtaining prescribed supplemental foods.

(7) WIC participants may exchange their checks for prescribed foods at retail stores which have entered into signed vendor agreements with the State WIC Office. The check front is signed by the WIC participant at the retailer's check-out counter. The check is then processed like any check through normal bank clearing procedures. WIC checks must be used within the timeframe of the first and last dates to use as specified on the check. Retailers must redeem any checks they receive within 60 days of the first date to use.

(8) The WIC Program represents more than just a check for food. A primary concern of the program is to deliver preventive health care. Through dietary counseling and nutrition education, participants may come to understand the relationship between good nutrition and their health. In addition, participants needing other health or social services are identified at the time of certification and referred to the appropriate agency.

(9) The "State Plan of Program Operation and Administration" is submitted annually to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, for approval. Many inclusions are mandated by the WIC program regulations while others are details specific to Utah's program. The state plan outlines general details concerning the operation and administration of the WIC Program in the state of Utah. The "Utah State WIC Policy and Procedures Manual" deals specifically with areas of Program operation and administration.

(10) Copies of the state plan may be obtained from the State WIC Office.

(11) Proposed revisions to the Utah WIC Policy and Procedures Manual are posted annually to the Utah WIC web site at www.health.utah.gov/wic for public comment.