Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program Report to Congress: State Implementation Progress, School Year 2014-2015

This report responds to the requirement of Public Law 110-246 to assess the effectiveness of State and local efforts to directly certify children for free school meals. Direct certification is a process conducted by the States and by local educational agencies (LEAs) to certify eligible children for free meals without the need for household applications. The 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act required LEAs to establish systems to directly certify children from households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by school year (SY) 2008-2009. This report presents information on the outcomes of direct certification for SY 2014-2015.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
The Second Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification Study (APEC II): Estimating and Validating Statistical Models for Updating Estimates of Improper Payments in the NSLP and SBP

Statistical models were designed to estimate national improper payments due to certification error on an annual basis using district-level data. This enables FNS to update its estimates of national improper payment rates for the NSLP and SBP in future years without having to conduct full rounds of primary data collection.

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
Feasibility Study of Capturing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Purchases at the Point of Sale

This study examined the feasibility of creating a data collection system capable of directly and automatically providing USDA with item-level data on purchases made by SNAP households. Data would be captured at the point of sale from purchases made using EBT cards.

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
Approaches to Measuring Erroneous Payments in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program At The State Level

The second Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification Study (APEC II) included a follow-on report that provided statistically-derived State-level estimates of school meals erroneous payments. However, while APEC II provided a rough indicator of relative risk for groups of States (e.g., higher than average, about average, lower than average), it was not a State-representative direct measure, and creating actual annual measures of such erroneous payments at the State level using APEC methodology is cost-prohibitive. This report explores alternative approaches to developing measurement-based State-specific estimates that are responsive to year-to-year changes in the actual underlying rate in each State. It also provides cost and burden estimates for the implementation of each of these methods.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Assessing the Feasibility of Implementing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Section 4031 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 required a study to determine the feasibility of operating SNAP, or an alternative model of benefit delivery, in the CNMI. This report assesses the CNMI's capacity to administer SNAP in six key SNAP program areas; describes potential barriers to implementing SNAP and modifications that might be needed; and explores which elements of SNAP could be implemented under the existing block grant structure.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Regional Office Review of Applications (RORA) for School Meals 2015

This is the 11th in a series of annual reports that examines the administrative accuracy of eligibility determinations and benefit issuance for free or reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Study of the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides nutrition assistance to Tribal communities through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). The last nationally representative study of FDPIR was based on 1989 data. Since that time, there have been many changes in FDPIR affecting eligibility, warehouse operations and distribution, customer service, and improvements in the types and variety of products offered in the food package. This report provides an update of FDPIR participant characteristics and program operations, based on a nationally representative sample of participants and sites.