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.