Milestones

CalWIC through the years

2024

CWA hosts the 32nd Annual Conference and Trade Show, Looking Forward, from May 6-10 as a virtual event. We celebrate WIC’s 50th year!

2020

As the COVID pandemic shutdown the state, CA WIC completed eWIC rollout and ensured families were served. CWA supported the local agencies with resources for COVID, protecting immigrants against national threats and ensuring strong Census completion. Going virtual, CWA produced the first virtual conference and trade show.

2019

After over a decade of decisions and planning, diligent and patient teamwork between local and state staff and partners resulted in rollout out of eWIC which included WIC WISE, the new state MIS system, CA WIC cards and an app. The number of WIC Card transactions grew daily and the many problems with paper checks became something we will tell stories about to future generations.

2018

Proposed rule changes to Public Charge require strong pushback to protect participants of WIC and other federal programs. CWA engages with NWA and state and national organizations in the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign and helps young mothers contribute to multiple media stories.

2017

WIC Ambassadors ensure state and federal legislators know about the benefits of WIC and threats to low-income programs and immigrant families. CWA hosts WIC staff and participants at the NWA Leadership Conference in Washington DC and to visit Congressional members. WIC Leadership Academy is reinstated. CWA celebrates its Silver Anniversary at the 25th Annual Conference in San Diego!

2016

CWA publishes MyWIC and Foreground to Horizon: Opportunities for WIC’s Next Half Century to focus on the needs and expectations of millennials and young mothers including new technology and ways to provide WIC benefits.

2015

Long-time CWA Program Manager, Karen Farley, becomes Executive Director. CWA kicks off Engaging WIC Families initiative to address sagging participation, focusing on including African Americans, Millennials, and Men & Dads. Access to fruits and vegetables at Farmers’ Markets improves as State WIC and CWA collaborate on Farm2WIC to get more farmers and markets authorized to accept monthly and seasonal WIC checks.

2014

WIC Works for US campaign includes digital storytelling strategies to educate legislators and the public prior to Child Nutrition Reauthorization. A CDC grant supports CDPH, California Breastfeeding Coalition and CWA to establish 9 Steps to Breastfeeding Friendly Health Centers.

2012-2014

Concerned with price-gouging among some California WIC grocers causing food costs to rise, CWA successfully advocates for stricter state vendor authorization and peer-group pricing rules.

2012-2013

We Need WIC campaign pushes back against federal government shutdown. Legislators’ offices are blanketed with paper plates describing WIC participants’ need for WIC.

2011

CWA urges U.S. Health & Human Services to include model nutrition and breastfeeding counseling services and support as essential health benefits in the Affordable Care Act. CWA leads work to better integrate WIC in health centers and public health.

2009-2010

CWA teams up with National WIC Association to support positive WIC breastfeeding and food package reforms in the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 and subsequent regulations. CWA kicks off Well WIC Worksites, a statewide program to support employee wellness.

2008-2009

Anticipating the WIC Food Package revisions, CWA works with California State WIC to kick off WIConnect, a campaign to connect the dots between the new foods, healthier habits, and better WIC outcomes.

2008

In response to years of studies and federal rule making to change WIC Foods, CWA organizes Have Your Say, Write USDA campaign to generate a record number of comments from Californians — including WIC moms and kids! CWA establishes a Leadership Academy.

2007

CWA goes to Washington DC with a local WIC Director and nutrition researcher to showcase the success of two California pilots using WIC checks for fresh fruits and vegetables — turning the tide of support on this issue and resulting in permanent changes in the Final Rule.

2006

CWA teams up with UC Davis to highlight gaps in hospital breastfeeding support, publishing the groundbreaking report ranking California Hospitals by rates of exclusive breastfeeding — the first of many subsequent reports contributing to hundreds of hospitals adopting a Baby-Friendly model of care.

2004

CWA partners with Center on Budget & Policy Priorities and others to seek food cost controls on burgeoning “WIC-Only” grocery store industry, resulting in major reforms in the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 and subsequent regulations.

2003

CWA establishes California Nutrition Corps, a scholarship program for WIC employees.

2002

CWA awards foundation-supported mini-grants to local agencies for breastfeeding and Medi-Cal enrollment projects, improving services to participants. “CAMP WIC” Annual Meeting introduces Participant-Centered Education to community. CWA begins publishing the Flash e-newsletter and WIC Watch magazine to keep WIC employees and supporters in California and beyond abreast of issues.

1999

Laurie True, CWA’s new Executive Director, obtains foundation support allowing organizational growth and effective state and federal advocacy. Independently funded First Annual Meeting held in Sacramento in cooperation with State WIC.

1998

CWA advocates hard for WIC Food Funding Formula equity for California, resulting in key reforms in the Goodling Child Nutrition Act and subsequent regulations.

1995

California WIC’s Integrated Statewide Information System (ISIS) rolls out, revolutionizing front line services by eliminating paper enrollment forms and standardizing intake and data management.

1994

CWA celebrates WIC’s 20th Birthday on the State Capitol steps.

1993

CWA hires Executive Director Kathy Ries, establishes membership dues, and contracts with State to put on Annual Meetings. Substantial federal WIC funding increases begin under President Clinton, supporting rapid program expansion.

1992

CWA incorporated as a non-profit organization, with Marta MacKenzie, Shasta County WIC Director, as first President.

1990

California Department of Health Services commissions an outside evaluation of the California WIC Program, and hires Phyllis Bramson as WIC Director. Contract and IT issues improve, and caseload stabilizes.

1987

California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation staffer Laurie True volunteers to coordinate advocacy and communication support for the newly formed California WIC Coalition. This group successfully convinces California to seek sole-source bid contracts for infant formula, resulting in record food cost savings for taxpayers and allowing caseload growth.

1986

Facing severe State funding and contracting problems, a group of local WIC Directors hold emergency meetings in a Sacramento church basement.

1974

California WIC Program established within USDA; California’s State WIC Program begins contracting with county health departments and non-profits to deliver services.