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Asked Questions
San Francisco Health Network
San Francisco Nutrition Services


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What population do you serve?

A: WIC serves:

  • Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or just had a baby
  • Children under 5 years of age (including foster children)
  • Families with a low to medium income. Working families may qualify.
  • Families who live or work in San Francisco

Q: Are all WIC services free?

A: WIC services are free of charge.

Q: How do I enroll in WIC?

A: If you are interested in participating in WIC, please bring all of the following to a WIC clinic:

  • Identification (can be one of the following: Picture ID Card, Medi-CalCard, Food Stamps Card, Driver’s License, Birth Verification, any insurance card, or passport).
  • Proof of Address (can be one of the following: recent postmarked envelope, any bill- PG&E or telephone, Driver’s License with current address or anything that describes where you live).
  • Proof of Income (can be one of the following: recent check stub, TANF/Calworks statement, note from the employer, Medi-Cal Card, disability or unemployment letter).
  • Presence at Certification- Parent or guardian bring your infant/child
  • If you do not bring your child with you to the appointment, you may be rescheduled.
  • WIC Referral Form completed by your clinic or doctor’s office- health information needs to be within 60 days of your appointment
  • Nutrition Questionnaire: complete the questionnaire one day before your appointment
  • Immunization Record (yellow card) of your child

Q: Which languages are available at which of the 5 clinics?

A: Most clinics have capability for English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian. When a person calls for an appointment they need to tell WIC staff which language they prefer to communicate in.

Q: Is a TDD phone line available for WIC services?

A: Yes

Q: Can a mother and her children be receiving WIC and Food Stamps at the same time?

A: Yes

Q: Does receiving WIC affect Food Stamp (FS) eligibility?

A: You can participate in the WIC Program and Food Stamp Program at the same time. WIC staff refers to Food Stamp and FS staff refer to WIC.

Q: What foods are currently available through WIC?


milk (lactose free milk/acidophilus)
cereal and infant cereal
peanut butter
canned tuna (only for exclusively breastfeeding women)
carrots (only for exclusively breastfeeding women)
infant formula, and formulas for medical conditions such as Alimentum, Nutramigen Lipil, NeoSure Advance, Enfacare Lipil.

For more information on food package content please visit the CA WIC website:

Q: Does the "Nutrition Education" that WIC offers come in the form of group classes or workshops, or one-on-one counseling?

A: Each participant or parent/guardian of participant receives one-to-one counseling at least once every six months and attends group classes one to two times every six months. Depending on risk factors, the person can also be scheduled to see a Registered Dietitian on a more frequent basis.

Q: Can WIC enrollees have private one-on-one appointments with the breastfeeding

A: WIC pregnant participant receives breastfeeding education during her prenatal period. WIC breastfeeding participant receives one-on-one counseling on breastfeeding after her delivery. The participant can also call the WIC Breastfeeding Support Warm Line to talk to a lactation specialist.

Q: Are there limits (besides the 5-year age limit on her children) that a mother can receive WIC?

A: WIC is for pregnant women, post-partum women up to six months after delivery, breastfeeding women up to one year after delivery or before, if she stops breastfeeding, and for children up to five years of age.

Q: How many people do you reach?

A: San Francisco WIC Program serves 16,000 participants per month which includes 10% prenatal, 14% breastfeeding mom, 3% non-breastfeeding mom, 23% infants, and 50% children under 5 years old.

Q: What are some of the WIC exciting activities?

1. The WIC Program implemented the New Food Package on October 1st, 2009. The new WIC checks allow participants access to healthier food choices such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and soy products. The New Food Package supports breastfeeding by providing fully breastfeeding babies meat infant food in addition to infant cereals, fruit and vegetable infant foods. Fully breastfeeding mothers receive the most varieties and quantities of foods. This transition of the new changes was smooth.

2. The WIC Program adopted the State “First Thirty Days of Life” policy, to increase the chance for the breastfeeding dyad to succeed, and to ensure the mother to make and maintain adequate milk supply: the breastfeeding baby does not routinely receive formula in the first thirty days of life. The WIC Program also launched the WIC Breastfeeding Support Warm Line 415-575-5688.

3. Since the middle of 2008, the Local Vendor Liaison personnel have been working with local vendors to provide them with support, resources and referrals, and to facilitate optimal shopping experience for the WIC participants.

4. The current WIC caseload is 16,350.

5. The WIC Program has participated in the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program for more than fifteen years. This WIC Program receives limited number of $20-dollar coupons to distribute to WIC families on a first-come-first-serve basis. These families can redeem their coupons for fruits and vegetables at certified famers markets throughout the City.

6. In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 2009 (August 1-7) the San Francisco WIC Supplemental Nutrition Program released a press article on the importance of breastfeeding before and during an emergency and the protective role of breastfeeding against H1N1 pandemic. The press release was written in English, Chinese and Spanish and submitted to the respective language media outlets.

7. The San Francisco WIC Program has been participating in the Bay Area Regional Immunization Registry (BARR) since July 2005. This tracking system provides a seamless network to track each child’s immunization history across medical homes. The WIC Program will continue to work closely with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the San Francisco Immunization Coalition to track WIC children who are behind on immunizations. The WIC/Immunization Tracking Project has successfully brought over 90% of these children up-to date over the past four years. The WIC Program averages about 6,000 immunization screenings per year based on the 6 month and 18 month certification visits from WIC clients. As compared to the State, rates of 12 and 24 month up-to-date records reveal that San Francisco has consistently reached over 90% of 12 month olds and 70% of 24 month olds during fiscal year ‘05-‘06, which exceeds the State averages which are 76% and 65% respectively.