DHHS tries to keep WIC going despite shutdown

Posted October 3, 2013

— A state-run but federally funded program designed to ensure proper nutrition for pregnant women and their young children is still taking applications for now in North Carolina despite the partial government shutdown in Washington, D.C.

The state Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it can enroll new applicants for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, also known as WIC, through at least next Tuesday. Current enrollees should continue receiving help for now, officials said, although that's subject to change.

The WIC program provides food vouchers, nutrition education and health care referrals for 264,000 women and children monthly in North Carolina, including 19,000 in Wake County. The federal government pays the entire $205 million to run the program.

"We have great outcomes that show children that come through our program do actually better when they go to school and things like that," said Ramon Rojano, director of Wake Couny Human Services. "Those are critical years for brain development, so it's very important to have appropriate nutrition in the first years of life."

Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS generic DHHS struggles to provide services amid federal shutdown

DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos said officials are working with the federal government to identify enough funding to keep WIC clinics open and maintain staff levels as long as possible.

"We feel this is critical since, despite the federal shutdown, clients will continue to come to the local WIC agencies and the volume of questions from clients and vendors will likely increase rather than diminish," Wos said in a statement.

Officials said WIC-eligible clients might be eligible to enroll in North Carolina's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.

The agency has had to furlough since Tuesday hundreds of state employees whose salaries are paid all or in part with federal funds. Other programs that could soon run out of money include inspections of some health care facilities, the Work First welfare program, the Childcare Development Fund and Adult Protective and Guardianship Services.

The state Department of Transportation has also been pinched by the federal shutdown.

"We've actually had some folks come into (state Division of Motor Vehicles offices) where we couldn't get them the license and ID card they needed because they couldn't change their name with Social Security," DOT spokesman Mike Charbonneau said.

So far, 22 public transit DOT employees have been furloughed.

"When we talk about federal funding, it touches rail projects, aviation projects, highway projects, bike and pedestrian projects, port projects," Charbonneau said. "The longer this goes on, the more impact it could have."


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  • notexactly Oct 7, 2013


    Bravo! All of the gimme this and gimme that folks are the real issues we should be trying to fix. Funny, I heard a quote the other day. " teach a man to fish and he can feed his family, give a man fish and he will vote for you" How true this is.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 4, 2013

    Oh and by the way, most not all of the tea party actually had the correct ideas for what is needed to resolve all the horrendous problems inflicted on us by Democrats. Yep three bankrupt social programs and now a newly added fourth.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 4, 2013

    "Thanks GOP/TEA PARTY for all you are NOT doing to help! Please, GOP folks, don't let the small group of TEA Partiers stifle this country. Get some backbone and support the citizens of this country (Not the small, minority GOP/TEA PARTY)."

    The Problem is not the GOP. The problem is Reid and the Senate Dems and Obama. As to SUPPORTING the citizens of this country, THAT IS NOT THE ROLE of Government. What you call support is destroying us and damaging millions more people than are getting benefits. WIC should not exist. If you can not provide for the needs of a child, YOU SHOULD BE A RESPONSIBLE person and not have a child. YOU should not be able to steal from me and that is what you support. I raised, fed, clothed, housed, and paid for the education of my children. That was my obligation and not some mystical village or Government agency or any other person in this country. In the meantime, REID and OBAMA need to stop being obstructionists.

  • SO---- Oct 4, 2013

    Thanks GOP/TEA PARTY for all you are NOT doing to help!
    Please, GOP folks, don't let the small group of TEA Partiers stifle this country. Get some backbone and support the citizens
    of this country (Not the small, minority GOP/TEA PARTY).