The social welfare programs of the U.S are structured by the changing economy and social conditions. The state and federal governments recognize that certain risks could be best met through social insurance approach in the public welfare. This achieved by contributing finances to social insurance programs to make sure the US citizens healthcare protection is a right. The US social welfare programs development over the years was practical and incremental. It articulated it operations by responding to specific problems in the healthcare system. These operations have pronounced degree of decentralization. The US social welfare programs are either provided by government or non-governmental organizations and in some cases both factions work together. Although public assistance has increasingly come under state and federal control, private philanthropy still plays a major role in the administration and establishment of most social welfare systems in the US.
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An example of a major social welfare system in the U.S is the WIC program better known as the Women, Infants, and Children program. For the successful operation of the program, the Congress authorizes a specific amount of funding annually through the Federal organizations. The program is managed at the federal level through the delivery of funds to the WIC agencies in state health departments or other comparable agencies. It offers diet education, breastfeeding care, recommendations and a variety of nutrition foods to low income pregnant breastfeeding or postnatal women, newborns and children of up to ages of five to support and sustain good health. WIC program serves to partner with its eligible members to provide breastfeeding support and counseling, nutrition education focused on the needs of the members, individualized food packages, healthy lifestyle promotions and support and referrals to other health and social services (FNS/USDA-Food & Nutrition Services, 2012a).
For eligibility one must either be a pregnant woman, an infant or child of up to five years of age, a mother of a baby of up to six months old or a breastfeeding mother of a baby of up to twelve months old. It is also required that the members be residents of New York. However, it is not mandatory for them be US citizens. For increased chances of qualification, it is a need to meet the income eligibility rules or receive aides from Food Stamps, Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. In addition it is crucial that a WIC healthcare expert assesses the prospecting candidate (FNS/USDA-Food & Nutrition Services, 2012b).
Supplemental food packages are the keystone of the WIC program. However, the program also provides nutrition education to its participants with the aim of emphasizing on the relationship between nutrition and good health by helping people make changes in their food habits by consuming more healthy diets. Recommendations to health care providers should increase the use of prenatal and post-delivery care for women and to escalate access to the use of routine precautionary care for infants and children. The federal, state and local agencies run the program. The federal agencies run the Food and Nutrition Service, issue regulations for the program and provide cash grants to state-owned agencies. The local agencies administer services to the WIC participants by screening and certifying eligibility and issuing benefits to the participants (FNS/USDA-Food & Nutrition Services, 2012c).
Studies have analyzed the relationship between WIC participation by children and nutrient and food intakes. Despite the potential for selection biasness, the overarching conclusion is that WIC participation associates with higher intakes of key nutrients and more consumption of WIC foods. With the increasing prevalence of childhood overweight and adult obesity, lack of a significant relationship between WIC participation and calorie intake is a positive program finding. The efficiency of WIC attributed to its success in improving the nutritional status of its partakers by addressing crucial nutrition facts. Additional foods offered through WIC are high in vital nutrients required during and after the prenatal period. The program has widely improved nutritional qualities and dietetic status by focusing on the key concepts of good nutrition and food planning techniques (FNS/USDA-Food & Nutrition Services, 2012c).
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