5026.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 9:05 AM

Abstract #11627

Barriers to retention in a large nutrition and food assistance program: A NYS WIC Program process evaluation

Mary Lou Woelfel, MA, Gene Shackman, PhD, Abdel Hamdan, PhD, and Ann Marie Popp. Division of Nutrition, Evaluation and Analysis Unit, NYS Department of Health, 150 Broadway, FL6 west, Albany, NY 12203, 518 402 7109, mlw04@health.state.ny.us

The NYS WIC Program serves each month, on average, 475,000 low-income women, infants and children. Services are provided through a statewide network of 100 local WIC agencies overseeing more than 500 sites. WIC management uses participant feedback to improve the program. The study purpose is to identify barriers to retention among parent/caretakers of WIC infants and children and assess barriers by race/ethnicity. A literature review, guidance team and focus groups informed the design of a survey administered person-to-person to 3,167 parent/caretakers of WIC infants and children at sites located across the state. Data was collected on WIC benefits, barriers to using WIC, ranging from competing priorities, organizational barriers, nutrition education, difficulties scheduling, staff attitudes, the enrollment, certification, and check pick-up process, food choices, vendor issues. Preliminary analysis shows that main WIC benefits are cost savings, especially from formula. Nutrition information, checking blood, height, weight and immunization referrals are important benefits. Many found nutrition education boring, repetitive but very useful. Local WIC agency staff are viewed as customer friendly, culture sensitive, and good listeners. Barriers include long waiting, cereal package sizes, store policies, quantity and variety of some WIC foods. Most did not delay recertifying their infant or child whereas nearly half failed to redeem all their WIC checks. Logistic regression will be used to determine the main reasons for not redeeming checks. Race/ethnic differences will be examined.

Learning Objectives: At conclusion of session, participants will be able to: 1. Identify main perceived benefits of and barriers to WIC participation. 2. Describe main barriers to one aspect of participation: redeeming WIC checks

Keywords: Children's Health, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: WIC - Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: work for NYS Dept of Health - Division of Nutrition, which administers the NYS WIC program

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA