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Mar 27 -- The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA invites comments to OMB by April 29, 2024 regarding the WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2024 and 2026 Study.

This is a reinstatement, with changes, of a previously approved information collection that was discontinued on 12/31/2022. This data collection effort for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children Participant and Program Characteristics Study (WIC PC) is authorized by 7 CFR 246.25(b)(3) (2011). The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). WIC provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, breastfeeding promotion and support, and nutrition education to nutritionally at-risk, income-eligible pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, infants, and children up to age five years. WIC is administered through 89 State agencies consisting of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, 5 territories, and 33 Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs).

Since 1988, FNS has produced the biennial WIC Participant and Program Characteristics Study (PC) report that describes demographic, income, breastfeeding, and health-related information of a census of WIC participants as well as information on the benefits they receive through WIC. Data used to produce the PC reports are collected from participants by State agencies at the time of participant certification in WIC and then submitted to FNS biennially. FNS uses the regularly updated PC reports to evaluate the impact of the program, support State agencies, estimate budgets, submit civil rights reporting, identify research needs, and review current and proposed WIC policies and procedures.

The main purpose of this biennial data collection is to provide FNS with information on a census of WIC participants in April of the reporting years (2024 and 2026) to produce the biennial WIC PC 2024 and WIC PC 2026 reports. This study also will include two new data collection efforts that will enhance the utility of the traditional WIC PC data and allow for novel assessment of participant-level program retention, participant health outcomes over time, program utilization, and program cost. One effort will be the collection of up to four years total (two years for each round of WIC PC) of longitudinal, retrospective WIC PC data (longitudinal WIC PC data). The second element will consist of collecting longitudinal, retrospective data on participant redemption of the WIC food package benefits (longitudinal EBT data) from State agencies.

Data will be extracted from the certification systems of each of the 89 WIC State agencies and from the EBT systems of 87 WIC State agencies. These data will be transmitted by a secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) website to the contractor, Westat.

WIC Participant and Program Characteristics: https://www.fns.usda.gov/data/wic-participant-program-characteristics
FNS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202401-0584-003 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2024-06494

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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