Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Section 1G of Chapter 15 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1990 Official Edition is hereby amended by inserting after paragraph 15 the following paragraphs:-
The board shall further establish a school breakfast and summer food service outreach program through the bureau of nutrition education and school food services in the department. Said program or elements of said program shall be operated directly through the department or contracted out.
a) Said program shall be designed to:
(i) increase the participation of low-income children in existing school breakfast programs and secondarily to encourage other schools to start a breakfast program. The target of said program is to bring the participation level of children who qualify for free or reduced price breakfasts under federal income eligibility guidelines to at least eighty-five percent of those eligible;
(ii) increase the number of summer food service programs offered across the state, with particular emphasis on needy communities, and to ensure that at least eighty-five percent of the children eligible under federal income guidelines participate in these programs.
b) The school breakfast related outreach program activities shall include, but not be limited to:
(i) development of an outreach campaign to promote the link between a nutritious breakfast and the ability to learn; to make the school breakfast program attractive to all children; and to create a positive picture of school as a basic source of breakfast for all income groups. The efforts should be particularly targeted toward communities with the highest need and should include outreach to linguistic minorities;
(ii) technical assistance shall be provided and technical assistance materials shall be produced including, but not be limited to, facts and guidelines on USDA requirements; ideas for increasing participation; ideas for safeguarding confidentiality; ways to involve parents and other members of the community; and suggestions for creative menus; and
(iii) technical assistance shall be provided for the development of new and innovative proposals including a "school breakfast period" during existing school hours in schools in which a majority of children are program eligible, and a universal breakfast program in school systems with eighty percent of the students eligible.
c) The summer food service related outreach program activities shall include, but not be limited to:
(i) an outreach effort to public schools, public entities and private non-profit agencies which would be eligible to provide the summer food services program. Said outreach shall include information and incentives to encourage eligible organizations to be local sponsors or meal preparation sites for the federal summer food service program;
(ii) ongoing support and technical assistance shall be made available to existing programs year round to ensure that they continue to offer the program and to assist in increasing participation levels;
(iii) reviewing and developing training methods and materials provided however that particular attention be given to providing appropriate training for first time sponsors;
(iv) targeting communities and schools which have the highest percentage of program eligible children and establishing an order of descending priorities based on the percentage of program eligible children; provided, however, that there should be a concerted effort to outreach potential participants who are linguistic minorities; and
(v) establishing start up grants not to exceed $2500.00 to encourage the participation of first time summer food service sponsors.
d) In all activities of this school breakfast and summer food service outreach program, local communities shall be encouraged and assisted in maximizing the use of federal resources.
(e) Said school breakfast and summer food service outreach program shall work to ensure that local programs are carried out in a manner which protects the confidentiality of those children receiving subsidized meals.
(f) The bureau shall submit a report to the clerk of the house of representatives who shall forward the same to the joint committee on education and the Massachusetts nutrition board on or before December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and ninety-three and on December thirty-first of each year thereafter. The report shall include, but not be limited to: the percentage of eligible children participating in school breakfast programs statewide during the previous school year; the amount of additional federal dollars brought into the state by all school breakfast and summer food service outreach program activities; the number of additional school breakfast and summer food service programs started in the preceding year; and the increase in participation in summer food services and school breakfast programs.
SECTION 2. a) There shall be established, within the department of public welfare, a food stamp outreach program. Said program shall be operated by the department or contracted out.
b) The responsibilities of the program shall include, but not be limited to:
(i) development and implementation of a statewide information program to encourage expanded program participation in the food stamp program provided, however, that said information program shall have as a goal to increase program participation by eligible families to eighty-five percent;
(ii) development and dissemination of information regarding eligibility criteria and application procedures for the food stamp program to target populations, including but not limited to such groups as the working poor, unemployed, non-English speaking persons, and the elderly;
(iii) provision of informational materials and training programs to institutions and organizations across the state serving targeted populations; and
(iv) operation of a state-wide toll-free hotline to provide food stamp information and preparation of monthly reports on hotline statistics and outreach activities.
SECTION 3. The General Laws are hereby amended by inserting, after Chapter 111H, the following chapter:- `tuc CHAPTER 111I. Women's, Infants and Children Program.
Section 1. The department of public health, in this chapter called the department, shall administer a program to be called the WIC program, funded by the commonwealth and the United States department of agriculture or other successor federal agency authorized to fund this program, to provide supplemental foods and nutrition education to pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants and young children. The WIC program shall be administered in a manner consistent with applicable federal law (forty-two United States Code section one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six, as amended) and the provisions of this chapter. To the extent that the provisions of this chapter conflict with the applicable federal law and regulations, the program shall be administered in a manner consistent with federal law.
Section 2. The WIC program shall serve all those eligible under the Federal WIC program eligibility standards. It is the intent of this program that by July first, nineteen hundred and ninety-four all of those eligible for the program shall be served. The words all those eligible shall mean serving eighty-five percent of all federally eligible women, infants and children.
Federal and state funds appropriated to implement this section shall be allocated to expand program operations in areas most in need of supplemental foods as determined by a methodology which shall be included in the state plan, and to fund related administrative services necessary for expansion.
It is the intent of this section that state funds provided under this act will supplement federal funds to enable all those eligible as defined above to be served through the WIC program.
Section 3. The director of the WIC program, in this chapter called the director, shall ensure that a state plan is developed annually as required by federal law. In so doing, the director shall ensure that a public hearing is held not less than twenty-one days after a draft state plan is made available for review to members of the public and not less than thirty days before a final state plan must be submitted to the federal government. Notice of the time and place of said public hearing, and of the availability for review of the draft state plan, shall be provided to each person who has previously requested the receipt of such notices, as well as to individuals and organizations known to the department to have an interest in issues regarding maternal and child health care and child hunger. Notice to the above-described individuals and organizations shall be in addition to publication of such notices in newspapers of general circulation throughout the state.
Section 4. An advisory board shall be established by the director, the purpose of which shall be to advise the director on all policies relating to the WIC program. The advisory board shall be composed of at least sixteen individuals each of whom shall serve a term of two years. Members of the advisory board shall be selected by the director, subject to the following requirements: four members of the advisory board shall be current or former WIC program participants chosen from geographically diverse parts of the state; six members of the advisory board shall be individuals who provide services or goods to WIC program participants, such as medical professionals, nurse practitioners, and food vendors; six members of the advisory board shall be representatives of the general court, the Massachusetts nutrition board or family health services advisory council, the office for children, the department of public welfare, the WIC directors association, the nutritionists association and a non-profit hunger relief organization.
Members of the advisory board shall not be compensated. Necessary expenses incurred by members of the advisory board to carry out their duties as such shall be reimbursed by the WIC program, and adequate staff shall be provided to the advisory board so that it can perform its functions effectively.
Section 5. In determining the financial eligibility of an applicant for WIC benefits, only such income as is available for the support and maintenance of the applicant shall be counted.
A monthly food package shall be provided to each participant and shall be prescribed by a competent professional authority at the local WIC program based solely on the participant's dietary needs. Such competent professional authorities shall be allowed to choose from the full range of types and amounts of food authorized by federal rules in developing food packages for program participants.
Each local WIC agency shall, in accordance with guidelines set forth in the state plan, mail or otherwise deliver food instruments to an individual on the basis of difficulties of the participant and his or her proxy in obtaining the food instruments, for reasons such as illness, imminent childbirth, or difficulty of access to the local agency.
All participants shall receive a written statement of their rights and obligations as participants, including all of the rights and obligations set forth in this chapter, at the time they are certified, and such statement shall be written in language calculated to be understood by the average participant.
Section 6. The director shall ensure that adequate funds are available to each local WIC agency to perform outreach activities designed to identify and encourage the participation of individuals who are eligible to participate.
Section 7. Adequate funds to implement this chapter shall be appropriated on an annual basis.