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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Author: Fox, Mary Kay; Condon, Elizabeth; Crepinsek, Mary Kay; Niland, Katherine; Mercury, Denise; Forrestal, Sarah; Cabili, Charlotte; Oddo, Vanessa; Gordon, Anne; Wozny, Nathan; Killewald, Alexandra
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) provide meals and snacks to children during the school year. The overarching goal of both programs, known collectively as the school meal programs, is to ensure that children do not go hungry and have access to nutritious meals and snacks that support normal growth and development. All public and private nonprofit schools are eligible to participate in the school meal programs and any child in a participating school is eligible to obtain school meals. Students from low-income households are eligible to receive meals free or at a reduced price.

    The school meal programs are administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The NSLP is the second largest of 15 nutrition assistance programs administered by FNS. Established in 1946, the program operates in virtually all public schools and 94 percent of all schools (public and private combined) in the United States. (Ralston et al. 2008). In fiscal year (FY) 2010, the program served lunches to an...

    The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) provide meals and snacks to children during the school year. The overarching goal of both programs, known collectively as the school meal programs, is to ensure that children do not go hungry and have access to nutritious meals and snacks that support normal growth and development. All public and private nonprofit schools are eligible to participate in the school meal programs and any child in a participating school is eligible to obtain school meals. Students from low-income households are eligible to receive meals free or at a reduced price.

    The school meal programs are administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The NSLP is the second largest of 15 nutrition assistance programs administered by FNS. Established in 1946, the program operates in virtually all public schools and 94 percent of all schools (public and private combined) in the United States. (Ralston et al. 2008). In fiscal year (FY) 2010, the program served lunches to an average of 31.7 million children on an average school day. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of these lunches were served free or at a reduced price to children from low-income households. Since 1998, schools participating in the NSLP have had the option of providing snacks to children in eligible afterschool programs. In FY 2010, 1.3 million afterschool snacks were served through the NSLP on an average school day.

    The SBP began as a pilot program in 1966 and was made permanent in 1975. Over the years, the program has steadily expanded. In school year (SY) 2009–2010, the SBP was available in 89 percent of schools that operated the NSLP. In FY 2010, the program served 11.7 million children on an average school day. The SBP primarily serves children from low-income households—in FY 2010, 84 percent of SBP meals were served free or at a reduced price. Since the 1980s, FNS has assessed the school meal programs on a periodic basis. This report summarizes findings from the most recent assessment—the fourth School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-IV), which was completed in SY 2009–2010.3 Mathematica Policy Research conducted SNDA-IV under contract with FNS. (author abstract)

  • Author: May, Laurie; Standing, Kim; Chu, Adam; Gasper, Joe; Riley, Jarnee
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    The Special Nutrition Program Operations Study is a multiyear study designed to provide the Food and Nutrition Service with a snapshot of current State and School Food Authority policies and practices, including information on school meal standards, competitive foods standards, professional standards, school lunch pricing and accounting, and standards for school wellness policies. The information in this first year study (School Year 2011-12) will provide a baseline for observing the improvements resulting from the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. (author abstract) 

    The Special Nutrition Program Operations Study is a multiyear study designed to provide the Food and Nutrition Service with a snapshot of current State and School Food Authority policies and practices, including information on school meal standards, competitive foods standards, professional standards, school lunch pricing and accounting, and standards for school wellness policies. The information in this first year study (School Year 2011-12) will provide a baseline for observing the improvements resulting from the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. (author abstract) 

  • Author: U.S. Government Accountability Office
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    The National School Lunch Program served more than 31 million children in fiscal year 2012, in part through $11.6 billion in federal supports. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 required USDA to update nutrition standards for lunches. USDA issued new requirements for lunch components--fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and milk--and for calories, sodium, and fats in meals. USDA oversees state administration of the program, and states oversee local SFAs, which provide the program in schools. The changes were generally required to be implemented in school year 2012-2013. GAO was asked to provide information on implementation of the lunch changes.

    GAO assessed (1) lunch participation trends, (2) challenges SFAs faced implementing the changes, if any, and (3) USDA's assistance with and oversight of the changes. To address these areas, GAO used several methods, including review of federal laws, regulations, and guidance; analysis of USDA's lunch participation data; a national survey of state child nutrition program directors; and site visits to eight school districts...

    The National School Lunch Program served more than 31 million children in fiscal year 2012, in part through $11.6 billion in federal supports. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 required USDA to update nutrition standards for lunches. USDA issued new requirements for lunch components--fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and milk--and for calories, sodium, and fats in meals. USDA oversees state administration of the program, and states oversee local SFAs, which provide the program in schools. The changes were generally required to be implemented in school year 2012-2013. GAO was asked to provide information on implementation of the lunch changes.

    GAO assessed (1) lunch participation trends, (2) challenges SFAs faced implementing the changes, if any, and (3) USDA's assistance with and oversight of the changes. To address these areas, GAO used several methods, including review of federal laws, regulations, and guidance; analysis of USDA's lunch participation data; a national survey of state child nutrition program directors; and site visits to eight school districts selected to provide variation in geographic location and certain school district and food service characteristics.

    To improve program integrity, GAO recommends that USDA clarify the need to document noncompliance issues found during state reviews of SFAs and complete efforts to assess states' assistance needs related to oversight of financial management. USDA generally agreed with GAO's recommendations. (author abstract) 

  • Author: Nalty, Courtney C.; Sharkey, Joseph R.; Dean, Wesley R.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    In 2011, an estimated 50.2 million adults and children lived in US households with food insecurity, a condition associated with adverse health effects across the life span. Relying solely on parent proxy may underreport the true prevalence of child food insecurity. The present study sought to understand mothers’ and children’s perspectives and experiences of child food insecurity and its seasonal volatility, including the effects of school-based and summertime nutrition programs. Forty-eight Mexican-origin mother-child dyads completed standardized, Spanish-language food-security instruments during 2 in-home visits between July 2010 and March 2011. Multilevel longitudinal logistic regression measured change in food security while accounting for correlation in repeated measurements by using a nested structure. School-based nutrition programs reduced the odds of child food insecurity by 74%, showcasing the programs’ impact on the condition. Single head of household was associated with increased odds of child food insecurity. Fair dyadic agreement of child food insecurity was...

    In 2011, an estimated 50.2 million adults and children lived in US households with food insecurity, a condition associated with adverse health effects across the life span. Relying solely on parent proxy may underreport the true prevalence of child food insecurity. The present study sought to understand mothers’ and children’s perspectives and experiences of child food insecurity and its seasonal volatility, including the effects of school-based and summertime nutrition programs. Forty-eight Mexican-origin mother-child dyads completed standardized, Spanish-language food-security instruments during 2 in-home visits between July 2010 and March 2011. Multilevel longitudinal logistic regression measured change in food security while accounting for correlation in repeated measurements by using a nested structure. School-based nutrition programs reduced the odds of child food insecurity by 74%, showcasing the programs’ impact on the condition. Single head of household was associated with increased odds of child food insecurity. Fair dyadic agreement of child food insecurity was observed. Obtaining accurate prevalence rates and understanding differences of intrahousehold food insecurity necessitate measurement at multiple occasions throughout the year while considering children’s perceptions and experiences of food insecurity in addition to parental reports. (author abstract)

  • Author: Ponza, Michael; Gleason, Philip; Hulsey, Lara; Moore, Quinn
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    Although the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) help ensure that many low-income children have enough nutritious food to eat, some studies have suggested that the programs could be more efficient and cost-effective. In particular, concerns have been raised about erroneous payments that reimburse schools for meals served to students who are not eligible for them. Policymakers would also like to find ways to reduce errors that arise when schools and school districts process or report meal reimbursement information incorrectly. This brief draws on Mathematica’s Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification (APEC) study to examine these issues. It provides the most detail to date on certification and payment errors in school meal programs. It suggests key factors for policymakers and program operators to consider as they move forward in developing initiatives for reducing payment errors. (author abstract)

    Although the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) help ensure that many low-income children have enough nutritious food to eat, some studies have suggested that the programs could be more efficient and cost-effective. In particular, concerns have been raised about erroneous payments that reimburse schools for meals served to students who are not eligible for them. Policymakers would also like to find ways to reduce errors that arise when schools and school districts process or report meal reimbursement information incorrectly. This brief draws on Mathematica’s Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification (APEC) study to examine these issues. It provides the most detail to date on certification and payment errors in school meal programs. It suggests key factors for policymakers and program operators to consider as they move forward in developing initiatives for reducing payment errors. (author abstract)

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