Local services for moms, kids could disappear

Local mothers and babies are in danger of losing crucial services due to a steady decline in the flow of dollars to the Women, Infants and Children program.

Local mothers and babies are in danger of losing crucial services due to a steady decline in the flow of dollars to the Women, Infants and Children program.

WIC has been a constant presence in Enumclaw, providing food vouchers and education about proper parenting and nutrition. The program benefits expectant mothers, moms with kids and children up to 5 years of age.

WIC representatives are in Enumclaw every Tuesday, setting up shop in the J.J. Smith building.

But the WIC offerings, which seem universally accepted as beneficial, could disappear from Enumclaw. Budget troubles have prompted Public Health – Seattle and King County to announce the planned closure of several offices, including the Auburn facility. Enumclaw’s WIC office is a satellite operation of the Auburn office and would go away with the Auburn closure.

Local WIC supporters aren’t about to go down without a fight.

Mayor Liz Reynolds has jumped into the fray, requesting a meeting with county officials, and members of the Enumclaw City Council are joining other communities in adopting formal resolutions opposing cuts to the WIC program.

In Enumclaw, Helen Countryman was an early advocate, contacting Reynolds personally and stepping before the council during that group’s Sept. 8 meeting. Countryman is a Public Health nurse and works for King County, but directed her council comments as a private citizen of Enumclaw.

If the local office is shuttered, Countryman pointed out, low-income families will face the prospect of traveling to Kent for WIC offerings. Aside from the decline in health services, she pointed to the economic impact facing local grocery stores when there are fewer vouchers being redeemed. Families qualifying for WIC services receive vouchers good for $400 worth of food monthly.

The numbers aren’t inconsequential, Countryman said, as nearly half the children born in Enumclaw receive WIC services. She also rebuffed the notion that WIC exists only to serve the chronically unemployed. There are plenty of working poor, she said, who qualify for services.

Proposed closures to Public Health offices, along with the WIC impacts, has not escaped legislative notice.

Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, an Enumclaw resident, spoke at the Sept. 8 council meeting, adding her support for keeping the local WIC office operating. Also, Rep. Christopher Hurst provided a letter that was read into the record, adding his support.

The issue moved into sharper focus this week when King County released its 2015 budget, which includes closure of Auburn’s Public Health clinic.


More in News

Bonney Lake to take action on water rate increases

The sewer rate increase, however, looks to still be up for debate, and will be addressed at a later date in committee.

Sumner-Bonney Lake classified staff want share of pay increases

After authorizing a strike, nutrition workers and bus drivers will vote on a tentative agreement Sept. 17. If they approve, school will stay in session.

Sumner-Bonney Lake classified staff accept contract

A strike was averted last night when bus drivers and nutrition workers accepted their contract, but a union representative says few people are happy.

Fun run will benefit animal rescue group

Grab your furry friend’s leash and head out to Lake Wilderness Park on Sept. 29.

Why you may want a Hep A vaccine | Public Health Insider

While hepatitus A outbreaks happen mainly in homeless communities, PHI wants to avoid an outbreak in the general population.

The 12-acre fire, exacerbated by dry grass and winds, destroyed two barns, a mobile home, two cars, a dump truck, a panel truck, and other buildings and vehicles. Photo courtesy East Pierce Fire and Rescue
Brush fire burns 12 acres, several buildings and vehicles

This incident represents an example of strong mutual aid networks, said East Pierce Fire and Rescue Chief Backer.

Human remains identified as those of missing Enumclaw man

Kristian Burnstad was last seen alive on Feb. 7, 2017.

Learn about library levy at sessions in Bonney Lake, Sumner

The levy, which is on the November general election ballot, would increase to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value if approved by voters.

Time capsule contents sought; will be opened in 2063

Enumclaw wants to remember: what was it like to live in 2018?

Most Read