The main focus of South Los Angeles Health Projects is WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
WIC This national program targets low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children until their fifth birthday. It was established as an adjunct to health care.
WIC helps families by providing checks for healthy supplemental foods, individual counseling, group nutrition and health education, breastfeeding support and referrals to healthcare and other community services. Read more about WIC here>>
Funding WIC is funded by Congress and administered by the US Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Public Health. In 1974, when a study of infant mortality in Mississippi showed that poor women and children were malnourished, the WIC program was created and has enjoyed bipartisan support ever since.
Eligibility Many factors are taken into consideration when determining eligibility for WIC. Read more about eligibility here>>
Recruiting Participants Ideally all eligible South LA residents would enjoy the benefits of WIC participation. But not everyone in our service area knows about WIC. To create greater awareness and understanding, staff from our WIC Outreach and Provider Relations Department educate and recruit potential participants. Some visit area hospitals and enroll eligible women who have recently given birth. Other staff inform the public about various health issues and share information about WIC.
WIC Centers We provide WIC program services at 11 centers in South and Southeast Los Angeles. While the state has authorized our caseload at 98,725 participants, the number of participants to whom we distribute food checks fluctuates from month to month.
Our WIC centers are bright and cheerful, designed for mothers and children to be comfortable and enjoy their visits. Our centers are located in Bell Gardens, Compton, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lynwood, Paramount, South Gate, and four neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles. For a map and street addresses, click here>>
Food Checks Food checks are used to purchase specific nutritious foods as recommended by a scientific panel of the Institute of Medicine. During counseling sessions, our
nutrition educators assess each participant’s nutritional needs and determine which foods are appropriate. Checks made payable only to food vendors authorized by the state are printed and distributed during participants’ visits to their WIC center. Read more about food checks here>>
Education and Counseling In addition to one-on-one nutritional counseling, our participants are offered classes on an array of topics such as various aspects of nutrition, breastfeeding, baby cues, parenting, immunization, healthy activities for children and preparation for visits to the doctor. Read more about our classes here>>
Breastfeeding Focus Breastfeeding is critically important for both mother and child. At our centers we offer breastfeeding group education and support groups as well as breastfeeding peer counselors to assist mothers one-on-one. We staff a breastfeeding helpline and a Loving Support program for nursing mothers who need extra attention. Read more about our breastfeeding services here>>
Immunization We are concerned that individuals of all ages adhere to the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule. At our WIC centers we encourage immunization of pregnant women as well as infants, children and WIC staff. Read more about immunization promotion at WIC here>>
Special Nutrition Services When a participant reports a special nutritional risk condition, such as diabetes, the woman or her child is seen by a staff dietitian or degreed nutritionist. Read more about our special nutrition services here>>
Early Childhood Pilot Program WIC staff speak with parents about their children’s development and assist parents whose toddlers appear to be lagging in acquiring communication or other essential skills. When indicated, the child is referred to our early childhood development specialist. This pilot program is conducted at the Huntington Park WIC Center.
Little by Little The Huntington Park WIC Center is home to a second pilot program, Little by Little, an early literacy project. Read more about this early childhood development pilot program here>>
Outreach to Health Care Providers We have close ties to approximately 265 local health care providers who refer their patients to us. Our community health outreach workers periodically visit providers to update them regarding changes to WIC and to share health education materials.
WIC Staff Our WIC staff includes nutrition educators; dietitians and degreed nutritionists; specialists in breastfeeding, child development and parenting; and administrators. We develop an array of programs for our participants, conduct extensive training of staff and emphasize providing a positive experience at our WIC centers. Read more about our WIC staff here>>