BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana will continue operating a nutrition program for more than 140,000 low-to moderate income women and children even though the federal government is in the midst of a partial shutdown.
The Department of Health and Hospitals said Thursday that Louisiana's Women, Infants and Children Program, commonly called WIC, will be funded until the end of October, using money set aside from the prior fiscal year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture previously advised DHH the money was unavailable during the federal government shutdown.
On Wednesday, the USDA contacted DHH and said the funds would be reallocated for use in the current fiscal year. As a result, DHH says it will provide WIC participants with a full month of benefits for October - not a partial month as participants were previously told.
Those who received partial benefits earlier this week will have to return to their local WIC office to receive the rest of their October benefits.
Additionally, the program will be able to accept new applicants during October. The federally funded program serves an average of 140,000 mothers, infants and children up to the age of five, each month in Louisiana.