How the Government Shutdown Could Affect Babies

Many Oklahomans are already feeling the effects of Tuesday's government shutdown. Others are still waiting anxiously to see how the shutdown plays out and how long it will last. The longer the government goes without a resolution the greater the impact could be on Oklahoma babies. Here are the three ways the government shutdown could affect little ones across the state.

1: The Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) could soon run out of money. The federally funded WIC program, which provides vouchers to low income mothers to buy formula and nutritional necessities, has a financial reserve on which it is operating. If the government remains shutdown and the reserve runs out, those receiving assistance from WIC will not receive their vouchers.

2: Hundreds of people in Oklahoma found themselves furloughed Tuesday. From civilian workers at Tinker Air Force Base to employees at numerous federal agencies in Oklahoma, many are going without pay until the shutdown is resolved. According to a recent study, nearly 30% of Americans have no savings at all, so going without work, and a paycheck, for even a few days could be crippling for nearly a third of all people in the workforce. Furloughed parents may have more difficulty paying the bills and buying groceries and diapers for their babies.

3: Nonprofit organizations will be stretched thin. At Infant Crisis Services, we are already anticipating an influx of people turning to us for assistance during this time. We are prepared to stand in the gap to ensure no baby goes hungry. Whether it is a furloughed father, or a mother who will not receive her WIC vouchers, the government shutdown could force many families into crisis. Our organization is 100% privately funded, so while we won't have to worry about losing federal grants, we could very well see our resources and inventory quickly depleted by the additional needs of the community.