Florida Families Urged to Register For Program to Benefit Moms, Kids

Author  Edited from an article submitted by Florida Department of Health in Broward County

Families in Broward County, Florida are being encouraged to sign up for the Women Infants and Children program (WIC).

WICWIC offers assistance to mothers and young children in areas such as nutrition. About 80 percent of 58,750 Broward residents who are eligible for WIC participate in the program, according the Florida Department of Health (DOH). For the rest, it’s a missed opportunity, according to Dr. Paula Thaqi, director of the DOH in Broward County, which operates WIC locally.

“Some women do not enroll early,” Dr. Thaqi noted in a recent press release discussing the WIC.

“We want women to sign up when they learn they are pregnant so they can receive WIC benefits right away. WIC helps mothers, babies and young children be healthier.”

UNAWARE

According to the DOH, some families do not realize they can enroll in WIC as soon as a woman becomes pregnant. There is no waiting for a pregnancy confirmation or for the birth.

WIC services include nutrition and breastfeeding counseling, referrals to other programs, and an electronic benefits card to buy nutritious food and artificial baby milk, if necessary.

Cereal, whole grains (bread, rice, tortillas, pasta), canned tuna and salmon, fruits and vegetables, baby foods, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, beans, fruit juice and are among the foods which can be purchased under the program.

ELIGIBILITY

WIC serves pregnant women, mothers for six months after delivery, breastfeeding women and children under age five.

Families are eligible if household income is below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. That means, for example, monthly income under $1,860 for one person, $2,504 for two, and $3,793 for a family of four. Florida Medicaid recipients qualify automatically.

In addition to nutrition services, DOH-Broward offers free dental fluoride varnish to children up to age 20 in WIC-eligible families. The treatment prevents cavities. It’s available at most of the seven WIC offices in Broward County.

For more information, call 954-767-5111 or visit http://broward.floridahealth.gov. Appointments are available.

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