Take Action Today- Support the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act
July 21, 2022
Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) provides Congress with an opportunity to improve and strengthen the child nutrition and school meal programs. With the last CNR occurring in 2010 and food insecurity inequities rising due to the pandemic, it is essential that Congress pass reauthorization bills that strengthen food programs and combat hunger throughout the U.S. On July 20th, Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) announced the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act as the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill of the House Committee on Education and Labor.
The Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act is a comprehensive, evidence-driven reauthorization of federal child nutrition programs that meets the needs of children and families. Specifically, the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act will strengthen the CACFP by providing reimbursement for an additional meal or snack per child, allowing children in households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to be automatically eligible for CACFP, and expanding food access for those experiencing homelessness or in emergency shelters by increasing the eligible age of reimbursement for these individuals from 18 to 25.
TAKE ACTION NOW to reach out to your House Representatives and urge them to support this CNR bill and CACFP.
Tell Congress to VOTE YES for the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act.
The proposed modifications to the CACFP by the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act are:
- Eligibility Certification Criteria for Proprietary Child Care Centers
This section allows CACFP eligibility for proprietary child care centers to be determined on an annual basis, in alignment with other child care centers.
- Automatic Eligibility for Children in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Households
This section allows a child to be automatically eligible for benefits if the child is a member of household that receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
- Review of Serious Deficiency Process
This section requires the Secretary to review and issue guidance on the regulations regarding the serious deficiency process for CACFP not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the bill.
- Authorization of Reimbursements for Additional Meal or Snack
This section allows for reimbursement of up to 3 meals and 1 snack or 2 meals and 2 snacks per day per which there are 8 or more hours between the beginning of the first meal service period and the beginning of the fourth meal service period.
This section allows for annual adjustments to reflect the Consumer Price Index for food away from home to be used for reimbursements for food served in family or group day care homes.
- Age Limits in Homeless Shelters and Emergency Shelters
This section increases the age limit for reimbursement for meals and supplements served in homeless shelters and emergency shelters to individuals who have not yet attained the age of 25.
- Advisory Committee on Paperwork Reduction
This section establishes an advisory committee to examine the feasibility of reducing unnecessary or duplicative paperwork and provide recommendations to the Secretary to reduce paperwork. This section also requires the Secretary to issue guidance and, if appropriate, regulations in response to these recommendations within two years.
Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act will also make adjustments to the Summer Food Service Program. CACFP sponsors who serve summer food should keep in mind that this Act proposes:
- Reduce Eligibility Threshold
Reduce the eligibility threshold for participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) from 50 to 40 percent of the children residing in the area who have been determined to be eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
- Allow NSLP for Summer Meals
Seamless Summer Option will allow schools operating the NSLP to continue under that program for summer meals.
- Year-Round Meal Service
There will be an option for year-round meal service under SFSP for non-school meal provider.
- Grant Program
This section authorizes a competitive grant program to increase participation in SFSP at feeding sites through innovative approaches including transportation and mobile meal delivery and authorizes $10,000,000 each fiscal year for these grants.
- Adjusting Meal Service
The institutions that participate in SFSP to serve up to three meals, or two meals and one snack per child per day.
- Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Meal Options
This requires updated nutrition standards for SFSP and specifies that outreach materials for SFSP be culturally and linguistically appropriate.
Along with strengthening the CACFP, the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act will:
- Expand access to school meals by expanding the Community Eligibility Provision so more school districts can provide free meals and ensure children on Medicaid are automatically certified for free school meals.
- Preserve the future of school meal programs by increasing the reimbursement rate for lunch by 10 cents and providing commodity support to the School Breakfast Program.
- Modernize the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) by expanding WIC eligibility to age six, improving access to telehealth to reduce the physical presence requirement, and expanding the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program to ensure more mothers have access to breastfeeding support.
- Address food insecurity during the summer by authorizing the Summer EBT Program at $75 per month per household, lowering the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) area eligibility threshold so sites can serve more low- to middle-income neighborhoods, and increasing access to summer feeding through transportation assistance and mobile meal delivery.
- Improve school meal capacity and sustainability by providing grants to purchase kitchen equipment, supporting farm-to-school programs, and incentivizing scratch cooking.
Read the documents below for more information on the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act:
The fact sheet for the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act.
The section by section for the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act.
The bill text for the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act.