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County exec rips federal shutdown for halt to family nutrition program
Advance layoff notices were sent last week to 82 King County employees who provide essential nutrition services for Women, Infants and Children, as a consequence of the continuing federal shutdown.
“This self-inflicted, manufactured crisis will interrupt essential nutrition services for 38,000 pregnant women, new mothers, and young children in King County,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “They are literally taking food from the mouths of babies.”
As a result of the shutdown, USDA funding in King County and Washington state for the Women, Infants and Children program, known as WIC, will expire on October 31st. The loss of funding will have a total economic impact of up to $30 million dollars a year, including $23 million that goes directly for food for families.
WIC is a federally-funded nutrition program that helps 38,000 women and children in King County eat well, learn about nutrition and stay healthy. The program provides vouchers for nutritious foods and infant formula, health screenings, nutrition and health education, and breastfeeding support. WIC services are provided through Public Health – Seattle & King County clinics and nine community partners, including community health centers, Swedish Medical Center, Neighborhood House and Open Arms.