Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program: State Implementation Progress

This report responds to a requirement of PL 110-246 to assess the effectiveness of state and local efforts to conduct direct certification of children for free school meals. Under direct certification, children are determined eligible for free meals without the need for household applications by using data from other means-tested programs.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Accuracy of LEA Processing of School Lunch Applications-Regional Office Review of Applications (RORA) 2007

This is the third in a series of annual reports assessing administrative error associated with the local educational agency’s (LEA) approval of applications for free and reduced-price school meals. In school year 2006/07 about 96 percent of students who were approved for meal benefits on the basis of an application received the correct level of meal benefits, based on the information in the application files. The percent of all students with administrative errors in the processing of their applications for meal benefits has remained relatively stable over the 3-year period, with administrative errors ranging between 3 and 4 percent.

Resource | Research | Promoting Healthy Eating
Diet Quality of American School-Age Children by School Lunch Participation Status: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

This report uses data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 1999-2004) to provide a current and comprehensive picture of the diets of school-aged children. Data are presented for children who participated and did not participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). For comparison purposes, results are provided for low-income children and higher income children for both participants and nonparticipants.

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.

Resource | Research | Cost Study
School Lunch and Breakfast Cost Study - II

This study examines the cost of producing National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) meals during School Year (SY) 2005-06. It measures both reported costs – costs charged
directly to school food service accounts – and unreported costs – those costs paid by school districts in support of School Food Authority (SFA) operations – to estimate the full cost of meal production.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Assessment of Sponsor Tiering Determinations 2006

The Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 requires all federal agencies to calculate the amount of erroneous payments in federal programs and to periodically conduct detailed assessments of vulnerable program components. This is the second wave of a program assessment of the Family Day Care Home component of USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program. 

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

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 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. 

Resource | Research
Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Consumption through the USDA Nutrition Assistance Programs

This report summarizes the actions and initiatives implemented since 2002 to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among participants in the nutrition assistance programs. The following areas addressed are policy, guidance, and initiatives, programs, nutrition education and promotion, collaboration and coordination, grants, reports, and emerging initiatives and resources.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
National School Lunch Program Application/Verification Pilot Project: Report on First Year Experience

Twenty-two School Food Authorities across 16 states began testing pilot procedures in 2000-01 to determine and verify the eligibility of children for Free and Reduced Price (F/RP) school meals. Three pilot F/RP eligibility determination models are being tested over a three-year period. 

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
School Meals Initiative Implementation Study: Third Year Report

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) are key components of a national policy designed to safeguard and promote the nutritional well-being of the Nation’s children. The programs are administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), operating through state agencies (SAs) that have agreements with the local school systems in their States. Despite the progress that has been achieved over the years in enhancing the quality of school meals, results of research conducted in the early 1990s indicated that school meals, on balance, were failing to meet certain key nutritional goals. In light of these findings, the USDA launched a far-reaching reform of the school meals programs, a reform aimed at upgrading the nutritional content of school meals. The reform began in late 1993 with public hearings followed by a proposed rule in 1994 and a final rule in 1995. The several elements of this reform are collectively referred to as the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children (SMI). The status of this initiative, together with an examination of selected operational issues of these programs, are the principal subjects of this report.