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Federal programs covered for at least a month

on October 13, 2013

Thousands of women and children around the country have stopped receiving support by the federal supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, commonly known as WIC. Some are scrambling for childcare as federal money dries up for Head Start. But Richmond residents do not have to worry. Yet.

While some states have already frozen the program due to lack of money, California WIC participants will not be immediately affected, said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for California Department of Finance.

“There will be sufficient federal funds available to make sure the program runs smoothly until the end of November,” Palmer said.

However a press release by the California Department of Public Health says WIC services are only assured through the end of this month. That’s consistent with the information that has filtered down to the Richmond program.

“The state has assured us that we will not have any interruption in our services through the end of October,” said Raz Moghbel, acting WIC director at the Contra Costa County WIC office. “But if there was any interruption, it would affect many people in the community, who depend on this service.”

Richmond WIC program serves up to 7,700 women and children every month, and if the government shutdown continues into November there may be serious repercussions for participants.

WIC is not the only nationally funded program serving children that has been hurt by the government shutdown. Many Head Start Programs around the country have locked their doors with no accessible government money. But the families of the 11,000 children in California that utilize this program can breathe easy.

Head Start programs in California received their grant renewals before the government shutdown in October, said Rick Mockler, executive director of the California Head Start Program Association.

“We just got kind of lucky,” Mockler said.

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