May 19, 2020

Declining Participation in Florida’s WIC Program: Strategic Planning Needed to Reverse the Downward Spiral  

This post was last updated on September 29, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Executive Summary

Only 51 percent of eligible Floridians participate in WIC.

Factors including confusion over eligibility, processes that differ by county, and barriers to obtaining WIC-approved items at the grocery store have contributed to the downward trend in participation. 

Florida Policy Institute recommends that state officials — in collaboration with advocates and families — take the following steps to streamline WIC: 

  • help combat misperceptions;
  • create easier ways for people to get and stay enrolled; and
  • make shopping effortless.

County-Level WIC Data

Downloadable Resources

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