County of Marin Health and Human Services

Women, Infants & Children (WIC)

Overview/Mission

Marin County WIC: The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program is a supplemental food and nutrition program for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women and children under age five who have a nutritional risk.

Our mission is to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care.

The goal of the program is to decrease the risk of poor birth outcomes and to improve the health of participants during critical times of growth and development. To meet this goal, WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion, community resources, healthcare referrals, and specific supplemental nutritious foods which are high in protein and/or iron.

History of WIC: Established as a pilot program in 1972 and made permanent in 1974, WIC is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Formerly known as the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children, WIC's name was changed under the Healthy Meals for Healthy Americans Act of 1994, in order to emphasize its role as a nutrition program.

How WIC Helps: WIC is effective in improving the health of pregnant women, new mothers, and their infants. A 1990 study showed that women who participated in the program during their pregnancies had lower Medicaid costs for themselves and their babies than did women who did not participate. WIC participation was also linked with longer gestation periods, higher birth weights and lower infant mortality.  WIC encourages the enrollment of migrants and eligible women.