Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) Best Practices Study: Final Report

This study — mandated by Section 4022 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (PL 113-79) — reviews research on employment and training (E&T) program components and practices that: (1) assist members of households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to obtain regular employment; and (2) are best integrated with State workforce development systems. This review also included research on the effectiveness of E&T components offered to low-income individuals by other Federal and State agencies, and the private philanthropic sector.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Special Nutrition Program Operations Study, School Year 2013-14

The Special Nutrition Program Operations Study is a multiyear study designed to provide the Food and Nutrition Service with a snapshot of current State and School Food Authority policies and practices of the school meal programs, including information on school meal standards, competitive foods standards, professional standards, school lunch pricing and accounting, and Smarter Lunchrooms activities. The information in this third year study (School Year 2013-14), the year of the first implementation phase of new breakfast standards, will provide data for observing the improvements resulting from the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Data was collected from a survey of all State Child Nutrition Directors and a nationally representative sample of School Food Authorities (SFAs).

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
School Nutrition Program Operations Study, School Year 2012-13

The Special Nutrition Program Operations Study is a multiyear study designed to provide the Food and Nutrition Service with a snapshot of current State and School Food Authority policies and practices of the school meal programs, including information on school meal standards, competitive foods standards, professional standards, school lunch pricing and accounting, and standards for school wellness policies. The information in this second year report (School Year 2012-13), the first year new lunch standards were implemented, will provide data for observing the improvements resulting from the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Data was collected from a survey of all State Child Nutrition Directors and a nationally representative sample of School Food Authorities (SFAs).

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
HHFKA Implementation Research Brief Series

This series of research briefs examines best practices in School Food Authorities' implementation of key provisions and their impacts in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, including Fruits and Vegetables, Plate Waste, Sodium, Participation, Revenue, Whole Grains, Smart Snacks, and a special view of Obesity.

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Program Error in the NSLP and SBP: Findings from the Second Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification Study (APEC II)

FNS developed the Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification (APEC) study series, which collects and analyzes data from a nationally representative sample of schools and school food authorities (SFAs) about every 5 years. APEC allows FNS to develop a national estimate of erroneous payment rates and amounts in three key areas: certification error, meal claiming error and aggregation error.  FNS recently completed APEC II, which collected data in School Year 2012-2013 and this report summarizes those findings.

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An Assessment of the Roles and Effectiveness of Community-Based Organizations in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

This study examined program outcomes such as procedural denials and application timeliness when applicant interviews were conducted by community-based organizations (CBOs) staff to outcomes when SNAP staff conducted applicant interviews in 4 states - Florida, Michigan, Nevada, and Texas.

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School Foodservice Indirect Cost Study

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) directed USDA to study the extent to which school food authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) pay indirect costs to local education agencies (LEAs). It specifically requested an assessment of the methodologies used to establish indirect costs, the types and amounts of indirect costs that are charged and not charged to the school foodservice account, and the types and amounts of indirect costs recovered by LEAs. To address the research questions, information was collected from four perspectives: (1) the State education agency finance officer, (2) the State child nutrition director, (3) the LEA business manager, and (4) the SFA director. 

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Evaluation of the 14 State Summer Food Service Program Pilot Project

In December 2000, the Secretary of Agriculture was authorized, through the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), to conduct a Pilot to increase SFSP participation in a number of States with low rates of feeding low-income children in the summer. States were eligible to participate in the Pilot if the proportion of low-income children they served in July 1999 through SFSP and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) relative to March 1999 NSLP participation was below 50 percent of the national average. Fourteen States, including Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Wyoming, met the criteria and are participating in the Pilot. For the purpose of this Pilot, Puerto Rico is defined as a State. This 3-year Pilot began in fiscal year 2001 and has been extended until June 30, 2004. Under the Pilot, meals served by eligible sponsors in the 14 States are reimbursed at the maximum allowable rate. In addition, administrative record keeping for the Pilot sponsors was reduced since they were no longer required to record administrative and operating costs separately and they did not have to report costs to State Agencies.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Evaluation of the 2004/2005 Food Stamp Outreach Projects

The Food Stamp Program (FSP) is the Nation’s largest nutrition assistance program. About 1 of every 11 Americans participated in 2006. The program and its benefits are available to almost all eligible households whose income and assets fall below national eligibility thresholds. The participation rate among people eligible for benefits has increased in recent years (to 65 percent in 2005). However, many low-income people do not receive the nutrition assistance benefits to which they are entitled. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is committed to making sure that all those eligible for food stamp benefits are able to access the program. To help meet that goal, over the last several fiscal years, FNS has awarded a series of grants to local organizations that, in turn, conduct outreach activities to educate potentially eligible individuals about the FSP and to
facilitate their access. FNS awarded nearly $2 million to 16 food stamp outreach projects in fiscal years 2004 and 2005. These projects are the focus of this report. The report describes the project goals and strategies, provides a general description of each grantee, and gives a synopsis of project performance. Performance is based on grantees’ self-evaluation.

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Report to Congress: USDA's Simplified Summer Food Program 2001-2006

The Simplified Summer Food Program (“Simplified Summer”) is a modified version of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The modifications allow reimbursements at a fixed rate rather than limiting reimbursement to administrative and operating costs documented by the individual provider. Simplified Summer was based on the Lugar Pilot Project (“Pilot”) which was in place from FY 2001 to FY 2004. Simplified Summer began operating in FY 2005 and extends the summer food program benefits, first established in the Pilot, to additional states. Meals served are reimbursed at the allowable rates under SFSP without regard to actual or budgeted costs. Sponsoring organizations in Simplified Summer do not have to report costs in order to receive reimbursement, nor are they limited to using administrative funds strictly for administration. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 required that the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) evaluate the impact of Simplified Summer which now operates in 26 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.