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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 PL 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 to certify eligible children for free meals without the need for household applications. 

Resource | Research | Demonstrations

Year 2 Demonstration Impacts of Using Medicaid Data to Directly Certify Students for Free School Meals

The Food and Nutrition Service conducted the Direct Certification with Medicaid (DC-M) demonstration that enables selected States and districts to use household income data from Medicaid files to directly certify students for free school meals. This report focuses on the experiences of States and districts conducting DC-M during School Year (SY) 2013-2014, the second year of the demonstration. It examines whether DC-M leads to changes in the percentage of students certified, the number of meals served, Federal reimbursements, and certification costs incurred by districts. It also assesses State-level administrative costs and identifies the challenges that States and districts face when implementing DC-M.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates

Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program Report to Congress: State Implementation Progress, School Year 2013-2014

This report responds to the requirement of PL 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 to certify eligible children for free meals without the need for household applications. 

Resource | Research | Demonstrations

Evaluation of Demonstrations of National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Direct Certification of Children Receiving Medicaid Benefits: Access Evaluation Report

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 required the Food and Nutrition Service to conduct a demonstration that adds Medicaid to the list of programs used to directly certify students for free school meals. Although students receiving Medicaid are not categorically eligible for free meals, the DC-M demonstration authorizes selected States and districts to use income information from Medicaid files to directly certify those students found to be eligible for free meals.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations

Evaluation of Demonstrations of National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Direct Certification of Children Receiving Medicaid Benefits: Year 1 Report

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA; PL 111-296) required the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to conduct a demonstration that adds Medicaid to the list of programs used to directly certify students for free school meals. Although students receiving Medicaid are not categorically eligible for free meals, the DC-M demonstration authorizes selected States and districts to use income information from Medicaid files to directly certify those students found to be eligible for free meals.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

National School Lunch Program Direct Certification Study: State Practices and Performance Report

This report uses statistical modeling techniques to assess the relationship between direct certification performance and specific State practices, seeking best practices and providing recommendations for States to use when developing their Continuous Improvement Plans.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

National School Lunch Program Direct Certification Improvement Study

The purpose of this study is to describe current methods of direct certification used by State and local agencies and challenges facing States and local education agencies in attaining high matching rates.  In addition, the analysis of unmatched records provides a better understanding of the categorically eligible children who are not matched in the direct certification process and identifies potential matching process improvements that might increase the number of matched children. This study includes analysis of data drawn from a National Survey of Direct Certification Practices and case studies of seven States for School Year 2012-2013.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Evaluation of the 14 State Summer Food Service Program Pilot Project

In December 2000, FNS was authorized to conduct a pilot to increase SFSP participation in a number of states with low rates of feeding low-income children in the summer. 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

Direct Verification Pilot Study: First Year Report

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 permits direct verification of school meal applications and requires FNS to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of direct verification (instead of household verification) by school district.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Study of Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program

The NSLP offers free and reduced-price school meals to students from eligible households. Households with incomes at or below 130 percent of poverty are eligible for free meals, and households with incomes between 131 percent and 185 percent of poverty are eligible for reduced-price meals. Traditionally, to receive these benefits, households had to complete and submit application forms to schools or be directly certified. Direct certification, on the other hand, is a method of eligibility determination that does not require families to complete school meal applications. Instead, school officials use documentation from the local or state welfare agency that indicates that a household participates in AFDC or food stamps as the basis for certifying students for free school meals.