[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 125 (Wednesday, June 29, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38108-38109]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-16289]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food and Nutrition Service


Request for Public Comments for Special Supplemental Nutrition 
Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Local Agency Recognition 
of Exemplary Breastfeeding Support Practices

AGENCY: Food and Nutrition Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This notice announces a request for public comments on the 
approach for selecting and awarding local agencies for excellence in 
WIC breastfeeding services and support. Section 231 of the Healthy, 
Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Public Law 111-296, requires that the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) establish a program to recognize 
WIC local agencies and clinics that demonstrate exemplary breastfeeding 
promotion and support activities. USDA believes that public input on 
the development of the recognition program would be beneficial.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before August 29, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods: 
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow 
online instructions for submitting comments electronically.
    Mail: Address comments to: Debra R. Whitford, Director, 
Supplemental Food Programs Division, Food and Nutrition Service, USDA, 
3101 Park Center Drive, Room 520, Alexandria, VA 22302.
    Respondents are strongly encouraged to submit comments through 
http://www.regulations.gov, as it will simplify the review of their 
input and help to ensure that it receives full consideration. All 
comments submitted in response to this notice will be included in the 
record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that 
the substance of the comments and the identity of the individuals or 
entities submitting the comments will be subject to public disclosure. 
All comments will be made available publicly on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sandra Clark, Chief, Nutrition 
Services Branch, Supplemental Food Programs Division, Food and 
Nutrition Service, USDA, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 520, Alexandria, 
VA 22302. (703) 305-2746.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    Historically, the WIC Program has promoted breastfeeding as the 
optimal method of infant feeding, unless medically contraindicated. 
Breastfeeding promotion and support is a critical component of the 
services the WIC Program provides to pregnant and postpartum 
participants. As evidence has grown surrounding the importance of 
breastfeeding to the health of mothers and babies, WIC has further 
expanded initiatives to reinforce these activities as a priority for 
the WIC Program. WIC's recent efforts surrounding breastfeeding 
promotion and support include changing the WIC food packages to provide 
enhanced packages for fully breastfeeding mothers, expanding the WIC 
Peer Counselor Program, and establishing WIC Breastfeeding Performance 
Bonus awards to State agencies. This local agency recognition program 
will complement these and other Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) 
initiatives currently underway that seek to promote and increase 
breastfeeding among WIC participants. It will also complement other 
Federal initiatives, such as the Department of Health and Human 
Services (DHHS)-led initiative, The Surgeon General's Call to Action to 
Support Breastfeeding, as well as the recent requirement in the Patient 
Protection and Healthcare Reform Act (Pub. L. 111-148), that became 
effective in 2010, that most employers provide a reasonable break time 
for breastfeeding mothers. All of these initiatives work towards the 
common goal to meet national objectives specified in the recently 
released DHHS Healthy People 2020, which includes an expansion of

[[Page 38109]]

the previously established 2010 breastfeeding objectives.
    While all WIC local agencies are required to implement policies and 
procedures to provide breastfeeding support and assistance throughout 
the prenatal and postpartum period, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act 
of 2010 (HHFKA) requires USDA to implement a program to recognize 
exemplary breastfeeding support practices at WIC local agencies and 
clinics. This program is expected to provide models and motivate other 
local agencies and clinics to strengthen their breastfeeding promotion 
and support activities. The HHFKA also authorizes the appropriation of 
funds for this local agency recognition program.
    USDA plans to begin recognizing exemplary agencies and clinics 
during fiscal year 2012. Awards may be monetary or non-monetary, based 
on the availability of funds. USDA will develop and implement this 
recognition program through careful consideration of information from 
existing recognition and incentive programs, key stakeholder input, and 
public comments to develop recognition award criteria and application 
procedures.

II. Key Issues on Which Public Comment is Requested

    In recognizing exemplary local agencies and clinics, the HHFKA 
requires that the Secretary consider:
    (1) Performance measurements of breastfeeding;
    (2) The effectiveness of a peer counselor program;
    (3) The extent to which the agency or clinic has partnered with 
other entities to build a supportive breastfeeding environment for 
women participating in WIC; and
    (4) Other criteria the Secretary considers appropriate after 
consultation with State and local program agencies.
    This notice serves as one means of consulting with State and local 
agencies and the general public. FNS would like comments on the 
criteria for the recognition, specifically:
    (1) What additional elements should FNS consider as a component of 
the selection criteria for this local agency recognition program?
    (2) What sources of data or information are available to support 
this recognition process?

    Dated: June 23, 2011.
Audrey Rowe,
Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-16289 Filed 6-28-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-30-P