Resource | Research | Food Security
Evaluation of Demonstration Projects to End Childhood Hunger (EDECH): Final Interim Evaluation Report

This study—authorized by the 2010 Child Nutrition Act—tests innovative strategies to end childhood hunger and food insecurity. The interim evaluation report describes (1) the demonstration projects, (2) planning and early implementation activities, and (3) findings from the baseline data collection for four projects located within Chickasaw Nation, Kentucky, Nevada, and Virginia. A fifth demonstration project was implemented in Navajo Nation but not evaluated due to changes in program design. The demonstrations occurred during 2015-2017 and operated for 12 to 24 months

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Regional Office Review of Applications (RORA) for School Meals 2012

This is the eighth 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 (NSLP). In School Year (SY) 2011/12, about 97 percent of students submitting applications for meal benefits were certified for the correct level of meal benefits, based on information in the application files. This was slightly higher than the 96-percent accuracy rate found in the previous school year.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Regional Office Review of Application (RORA) For School Meals 2011

This is the seventh 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 (NSLP). In School Year (SY) 2010/11, about 96 percent of students submitting applications for meal benefits were certified for the correct level of meal benefits, based on information in the application files. This was slightly lower than the 98-percent accuracy rate found in the 2 previous school years.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Using American Community Survey Data to Expand Access to School Meals Programs

This is a report of the National Academies' National Research Council, Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), which was commissioned by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. It is available here by permission. It may also be obtained through the National Research Council's website. This is the final version of the report. An earlier, prepublication version was made available in May 2012, but should no longer be used. This final version includes some important corrections.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
CACFP Assessment of Sponsor Tiering Determinations 2011

The Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 (IPIA) (Public Law 107-300) 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 seventh wave (2011) of a program assessment of the family daycare homes in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The assessment provides a national estimate of the share of CACFP-participating family daycare homes that are approved for an incorrect level of per meal reimbursement, or reimbursement "tier," for their circumstances. Tiering errors result in improper payments because misclassified family day care homes do not receive the appropriate level of reimbursement for the meals and snacks provided to the children. The assessment also estimates the dollar amount of improper payments attributable to family daycare home tiering errors.

Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study IV

This report summarizes findings from the fourth School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-IV), which collected data from nationally representative samples of school districts and schools in school year (SY) 2009-10. As in prior studies, the nutrient content of the average meals offered and served in the Nation’s schools was compared with regulatory standards in effect at the time—the School Meal Initiative (SMI) nutrition standards—as well as selected recommendations included in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In January 2012, USDA issued new standards for school meals to be phased in over 3 years beginning in SY 2012-13. The data reported here thus serve as a marker of progress in achieving the SMI standards, and a baseline for measuring future improvements under the new standards. The study also collected information about the availability of competitive foods—foods sold in competition to USDA school meals through a la carte sales in cafeterias, vending machines, school stores, and other venues. Finally, the study collected data from a sample of elementary schools participating in the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) and compared them to elementary schools nationwide.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program: State Implementation Progress School Year 2011-2012: Report to Congress

Student eligibility for free meals is determined by application or by direct certification. Although direct certification systems vary by State and LEA, all such systems are designed to eliminate the need for paper applications. Effective in SY 2011-2012, LEAs must conduct direct certification three times per year: once at or around the start of the school year, and again three and six months after that initial effort. All direct certification systems now match student enrollment lists against SNAP agency records and the records of other assistance agencies whose participants are categorically eligible for free meals. The matching process, whether automated or manual, requires no action by the children’s parents or guardians.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
School Food Purchase Study-III: Nutritional Characteristics of School Food Acquisitions

The most recent School Food Purchase Study provides national estimates of the types, amounts, and costs of foods acquired by public school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program during School Year (SY) 2009/10. It also includes a comprehensive analysis of the nutritional characteristics of foods acquired by these school districts. This report presents findings about the calories, nutrients, and food groups available for use in school meals and other school food programs, including a la carte foods, and the extent to which school food acquisitions are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and associated
food guidance system.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Modeling of High-Risk Indicators of Certification Error in the National School Lunch Program

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides subsidized lunches to more than 30 million children each school day. The program is means-tested; schools must obtain income data from households to certify students as eligible for free or reduced-price meals. The Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification (APEC) study found that one in five children certified for free or reduced- price meals in school year (SY) 2005-2006 was erroneously certified or incorrectly denied benefits. This study builds on APEC with three objectives: Develop an econometric model to identify indicators of local education authorities (LEAs) with high risk of certification error. Identify the key relationships between certification error and local characteristics. Provide a Web-based monitoring tool that will apply model parameters to annual Verification Summary Report (VSR) data.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
School Food Purchase Study III

This is the third study that provides national estimates of the type, quantity, dollar value and unit price of food acquisitions by public school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). The study examines the overall changes in the composition of the entire school food market basket including foods purchases for a la carte sales and the relative importance of donated USDA Foods. It also provides insight into the relationship between district characteristics, purchasing practices, and food costs.