What does it mean for Maryland?
Every five years, Congress reauthorizes and revises the child nutrition programs. These programs – which include school meals, afterschool snacks and meals, child care food, summer meals, and WIC – provide funding to ensure that low-income children have access to healthy and nutritious foods. Each day, millions of children across the country benefit from the child nutrition programs, which are proven to improve educational achievement, economic security, nutrition and health.
Although the programs are permanently authorized, the reauthorization process provides an opportunity to improve and strengthen these programs so they better meet the needs of Maryland’s children.
What were the outcomes of the last Child Nutrition Reauthorization?
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (the child nutrition reauthorization bill for 2010) has many important and excellent provisions, and invests an additional $4.5 billion over ten years in new funding for child nutrition programs.
Critical child nutrition changes will:
- Support improvements to direct certification for school meals and other strategies to reduce red tape in helping children obtain school meals;
- Allow state WIC agencies the option to certify children for up to one year;
- Mandate WIC electronic benefit transfer (EBT) implementation nationwide by October 1, 2020;
- Improve area eligibility rules so more family child care homes can use the CACFP program;
- Enhance the nutritional quality of food served in school-based and preschool settings; and
- Make “competitive foods” offered or sold in schools more nutritious.
The bill also:
- Authorizes $20 million dollars for Summer Food Support grants for sponsors to establish and maintain programs; and
- Expands the Afterschool Meal Program to all 50 states. Previously, only Maryland, the District of Columbia and 12 other states were able to operate this program.
Fast Facts: Maryland and Hunger
One out of every nine Maryland households faces a constant struggle against hunger.
One in five Maryland households with children say they struggled to afford enough food for their families.
For every 100 low-income children that eat school lunch, only 46 also eat school breakfast.
Find out more about Child Nutrition Reauthorization at the Food Research and Action Center website.