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A Regional Approach to Improving Maternal and Child Health

A Regional Approach to Improving Maternal and Child Health

moms walking kids

For the past three years, Health Share has worked closely with Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties’ Public Health authorities, Help Me Grow, and Early Learning Hubs to design a cohesive perinatal continuum of care that connects pregnant and parenting members to services and supports when and where needed. This approach aims to optimize health outcomes for families and children with the goal of reducing health disparities and ensuring kindergarten readiness.

One arm of this work focuses on WIC, which is short for the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

Refer families to WIC to improve their health 

We know that keeping families physically and mentally healthy requires more than regular provider visits. In addition, families need healthy food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to other services like dental care, early childhood programs, and social services. WIC provides all these services and more.

WIC has nutrition experts who can educate your patients about making healthy choices that work for them and their families. WIC also checks in on participants’ health at least every six months and connects with their healthcare teams for nutrition, growth, development and/or breastfeeding concerns. 

The program has expanded its services during the pandemic, but far too few families in the Portland Metro area take advantage of the program. WIC currently serves more than 24,000 people in the tri-county metro area, but the program has resources to serve about twice that many. 

Please help refer families that could benefit from WIC's many services!

Who qualifies for WIC?

Families that qualify for the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) automatically qualify for WIC. The program is not just for mothers and pregnant women. WIC also provides services for fathers, grandparents, stepparents, foster parents, and caregivers of children from birth to five years old.  

Anyone in those categories who meets the income guidelines qualifies. A single parent with one child can make up to $2,686 a month, and a family of four can make up to $4,086 and still qualify.  

WIC can improve families’ health

WIC participants experience plenty of short-term benefits but research compiled by the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities shows that WIC also improves long-term health outcomes.  

  • Women who participate in WIC give birth to healthier babies who are more likely to survive infancy 
  • WIC participants buy and eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products 
  • Low-income children in WIC are just as likely as more affluent children to be immunized, and more likely to receive preventive care than other low-income children  

How to refer families to WIC

If you want to refer one of your patients or a family to WIC, please fill out this form, and the Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties’ WIC programs will do the rest.