WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2011 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced investments in the national school meal program that will protect taxpayer dollars while providing healthy school meals for low-income kids. The Administrative Review and Training Grants help states improve their operational accuracy in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. The grants highlight the work of states in improving the integrity and efficiency of program administration and delivery.
"By focusing on program efficiencies, we ensure the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs contribute to the overall well-being of our children, while protecting tax-payer dollars," said Secretary Vilsack. "These concerted efforts enhance states’ program effectiveness and provide important paths to healthy lifestyles and outcomes for our nation’s schoolchildren."
Working in collaboration with USDA, state agencies continue to enhance nutrition assistance program integrity. This year, USDA is investing in process improvement efforts across its nutrition assistance programs that examine local processes and identify and implement efficiencies. The department is also interested in funding projects that use technology to achieve procedural changes, such as document imaging, telephone interviews or web-based access to case status information. Today's announcement proves that states’ efforts to ensure program integrity and improve their process for administering the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs are working.
During the grant periods, ranging from one to three years, states will develop and implement training and technology improvements to assist in identifying, training and monitoring school food authorities that have had or are likely to experience a high level of risk for errors in program operations. Awards will be made to the following States:
- Hawaii - $1,499,385.00
- Indiana - $1,017,920.00
- Missouri - $1,276,900.00
- New Hampshire - $1,409,532.85
- South Dakota - $843,158.00
- Washington - $1,478,700.00
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service oversees 15 nutrition assistance programs that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. The programs work together to form a national safety net against hunger. The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs provide nutritionally balanced, free and low-cost meals to nearly 32 million school children each school day. SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, puts healthy food in reach for more than 44 million Americans each month, half of whom are children.