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Vermont Department of Health - Maternal & Child Health Programs and 1 more... less...


OLH SHIP-related activities

# of children graduating from WIC at age 5

Current Value


Q3 2022


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Story Behind the Curve

Updated: July 2018

Author: Division of Maternal and Child Health, WIC program, Vermont Department of Health

Research shows that low-income WIC participants are more likely to enter kindergarten “ready to learn" than income-eligible children who do not participate.

In 2016, 8411 children age 1-4 participated in WIC for some part of the year, about 34% of the total population in that age group, down from 32% in 2015. In 2016, the most recent year with an estimate, there were 6177 5 year-olds living in Vermont, and 1,502 WIC graduates – 24% of the total population

Because the population estimates are not available until well after the end of the year, the raw number of WIC graduates is a proxy measure.


  • Health Department District Office staff
  • Healthcare Providers
  • Community Partners
  • WIC Grocers
  • WIC Program

What Works

Strategies to improve participant retention begin with developing relationships with families when they first enroll in WIC and supporting them to continue to participate. Work has been done to streamline many aspects of a child's certification appointment and a recent pilot project to further streamline the mid-certification assessment just concluded. In general, more "teleWIC" midcertification appointments were kept as compared to in-person apointments.  These Findings support offering "teleWIC" appointments to families beyond the three pilot offices as an option for this required assessment visit.  Referrals to WIC from the child's primary care provider also help reinforce continued participation.

Action Plan

WIC is working to improve outreach and retention of WIC participants, including formative research to determine why families leave WIC before the end of their eligibility. WIC's texting services, initiated with a small grant from USDA-FNS have had a positive impact on communication since being incorporated into ongoing operations. WIC now offers opt-in weekly, educational text messages, appointment reminders, nutrition activity reminders, and other program related messages. WIC has recently expanded to be able to offer two-way texting for simple communications with participants, including rescheduling appointments, following up on missed appointments, and answering other brief questions.

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