Parents and caregivers across the country are anxious and scared about the ongoing formula shortage. Early Head Start program staff know all too well the negative impacts food insecurity and hunger have on children and families and understand why the formula shortage is top-of-mind for so many caregivers across the country.
Here’s the latest information to share with Head Start colleagues and partners:
- An agreement has been reached to reopen the formula factory in Michigan, but it will take six to eight weeks for additional supply to hit store shelves.
- In the meantime, safe supply is being flown in from an FDA-registered factory in Ireland to help alleviate the crisis.
- As you know, the 1.2 million infants who receive formula benefits through WIC are typically limited to one brand of formula. President Biden announced increased flexibilities for WIC shoppers.
- Additional legislative efforts include: a $28 million to build up capacity for monitoring and inspections and a bipartisan bill, introduced by Head Start alumna Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT-05) to provide waiver authorities for WIC, which passed in the House on Wednesday
- As various legislative and funding proposals work their way through Congress, NHSA has joined with the National WIC Association and other partners to call for urgent action.
And two helpful pieces to share with parents:
- Printable Fact Sheet: Where to Find Formula
This fact sheet from the Dept. of Health and Human Services about where families might be able to find infant formula is available in English and Spanish.
- Q&A: Keeping Infants Safe
This Q&A from the American Academy of Pediatrics will help answer difficult questions from parents and advise against efforts to make infant formula at home, to dilute infant formula, and other commonly asked questions.
Upcoming Head Start Peer Exchange
Early Head Start programs are working with child care partners and local communities to navigate this crisis and develop strategies for identifying families facing widespread shortages. We invite you to register and join an Early Head Start Peer Exchange on the Infant Formula Shortage on Tuesday, May 24 from 4-5 p.m. EST.
On this interactive call, we will invite attendees to:
- Share what actions you have taken to support families and communities
- Share resources you have found helpful with your peers; and
- Think through the next steps we can take, together, for the duration of this crisis.
NHSA will continue to monitor federal and national developments.