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.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Feasibility of Assessing Causes of State Variation in Food Stamp Program Administrative Costs

The total cost of State administrative expenses (SAE) in the Food Stamp Program (FSP) was $5.5 billion in FY 2007. (On October 1, 2008, the Food Stamp Program will change its name to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP). While the Federal Government pays 100 percent of the cost of food stamp benefits, SAE are shared about 50/50 between the States and the Federal Government. These costs vary substantially between States. While the national average SAE was $469 per case in FY2007, State averages ranged from $169 in South Carolina to $1,169 in California. This study examines the feasibility of assessing causes of variation in SAE by addressing two fundamental sets of questions: Is it possible to measure SAE consistently across States to credibly assess the degree of variation? Are alternative ways to measure SAE needed? If so, what level of effort is needed? Can SAE variation be explained in the absence of a controlled experiment? If yes, what are the alternative approaches? Which are recommended?

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Report to Congress: The Nebraska Rural Area Eligibility Determination Pilot for the CACFP

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) subsidizes nutritious meals and snacks served to participants in child care nationwide, providing different levels or “tiers” of meal reimbursement based on the income level of participating children, providers, and nearby geographic areas. Policymakers have long been concerned that programs such as CACFP are not as accessible to eligible children in rural areas as in urban areas. To address these concerns, Public Law 108-265 (2004) authorized a pilot to test lowering the eligibility threshold for higher reimbursement rates to make them available in rural areas in Nebraska with somewhat lower concentrations of low-income households (40 percent of school children below 185 percent of poverty) than permitted under regular program rules (50 percent of school children below 185 percent of poverty). By offering higher reimbursement rates in these areas, it was hoped not only that more day care providers would become interested in participating in the CACFP, but that sufficient concentrations of such providers would make it more attractive for sponsoring organizations to operate in more rural areas. This report presents the results on an evaluation of the pilot, which was conducted between October 2005 and September 2007.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
The Pennsylvania SFSP Rural Area Eligibility Pilot Evaluation

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-265) authorized a pilot to operate in rural Pennsylvania during the summers of 2005 and 2006. The purpose was to test whether lowering the site eligibility threshold from 50 percent to 40 percent would increase the number of children participating in the program. The legislation directed USDA, through the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), to evaluate the impact of the pilot eligibility criterion on: (1) the number of sponsors operating sites that offer meals under the SFSP, (2) the number of sites offering meals through SFSP, (3) the geographic locations of sites, (4) services provided at the sites, and (5) other factors influencing participation.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Modernization of the Food Stamp Program in Florida

This study focuses primarily on the changes as they related to the FSP. The study documents the changes made to FSP application and case maintenance procedures, and it assesses the potential impact of these changes on access to the FSP. The study is designed to help FNS as well as states that are considering modernization to learn from Florida’s experiences.