CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The parents of a 20-month-old boy who died of malnutrition may have violated WIC rules.
Carla Adkins, of Ashton, and Jimmie Edwards, of Milton, were arrested earlier this week and charged with felony child neglect resulting in death. Their son, Carson, died in March 2013. The final autopsy report on his death was released last month.
Investigators claim the couple would take WIC products and return the child’s infant formula to a store in exchange for money which they used to buy meth. They were allegedly giving the baby whole milk which he was not able to properly digest and caused his death.
The Women, Infants, Children program provides infant formula to low income families who can’t afford to purchase it on their own. Cindy Pillo, the acting director of the Office of Nutrition Services with the state DHHR told MetroNews Wednesday recipients go through a thorough vetting process and during each certification visit must sign a participation agreement which includes the guidelines and rules of the program.
“We also have several (points) and one of them is ‘Do not trade or sell WIC food or formula with your WIC benefits,’” stressed Pillo.
Parents who need to exchange WIC-purchased formula must do so at a WIC clinic where everything is documented. The returns are exchanged only for products that the children can use. Selling them to stores or over the Internet is not allowed.
“It is against federal WIC policy to do that,” said Pillo.
There are also guidelines for stores who sell formula in exchange for WIC vouchers. Stores cannot “Knowingly exchange or refund money for WIC food items.”
Pillo said WIC does look out for potential fraud.
“We do have a program integrity unit that reviews any abuse allegations. We also have a compliance person in our compliance unit that does compliance buys. In grocery stores, anytime we have any allegations of of abuse, we investigate those also,” stressed Pillo.
Pillo could not speak directly to the case involving Adkins and Edwards or whether they had been under investigation.
Adkins and Edwards remain in jail on $500,000 bail each.