SC’s DHEC will use agency savings, may furlough employees to continue WIC

ccope@thestate.comOctober 4, 2013 

— The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is dipping into agency savings and may have to furlough employees to maintain the Women, Infant and Children nutritional program through the end of the month.

DHEC developed a contingency plan to provide for one of the state’s most vulnerable populations through the end of the month, in case the federal government shutdown continues for that long, according to a news release.

“This staff has worked with me for the past 18 months to cut down on expenses and become more efficient,” Catherine Templeton, DHEC’s director, said in the release. “The savings we have realized are being reinvested in the citizens of South Carolina by keeping important protections in place while the federal government sorts things out.”

There will be no furloughs unless the federal government does not reimburse South Carolina for the program’s costs, according to the release.

WIC is a supplemental nutrition program for low-income pregnant women, recently pregnant women, those who are breastfeeding or who have a new baby, and infants and children ages 1 to 5. WIC recipients receive vouchers for groceries and can take classes on nutrition and healthy shopping.

Reach Cope at 803-771-8657 or on Twitter @cassielcope

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