The Arkansas Department of Health reached an agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture that will preserve benefits and jobs in the Women Infants and Children’s (WIC) program on a week-by-week basis during the government shutdown.
The commitment from the USDA will cover ADH administrative costs for WIC for this week, action that will prevent furloughing WIC staff and allow ADH to continue issuing certifications and re-certifications without interruption Tuesday (Oct. 1), according to Ed Barham with the health department.
Currently there are 273 ADH employees whose jobs are funded by the WIC program.
The WIC program supplies basic nutritional needs to infants, children and women who have an income at or below WIC guidelines or receive Medicaid, ARKids, TEA or SNAP.
In August, the WIC program in Arkansas served 23,595 infants, 42,105 children and 2,039 women.
Nearly nine million women and children across the country rely on WIC.