Nutrition assistance programs have been shown to increase children’s health and well-being and decrease the risk of child maltreatment. At the same time, food insecurity rose in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. This report analyzes the number of children served by HHS safety net programs who were eligible but not enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in 2018.
- Among children ages zero to four served by HHS safety net programs, 87 percent were eligible for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), in 2018.
- Thirty-nine percent of young children served by HHS safety net programs – 3.2 million – were eligible for WIC but not receiving the benefit.
- Fifty-five percent of children age 0 to 17 who participated in HHS safety net programs were eligible for SNAP.
- Nine percent of children served by HHS safety net programs – 2.7 million – were eligible for SNAP but did not get the benefit.
- HHS programs could explore how to facilitate families’ knowledge and receipt of WIC and SNAP benefits to ensure they receive nutrition assistance.