by Jessica Dietrich, Director of Government Relations and Public Policy
Child Nutrition Program Reauthorization
The House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Rep. Bobby Scott introduced legislation last week to modernize childhood anti-hunger programs through H.R. 8450, the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act. Though H.R. 8450 still needs to move through the legislative process, this represents a long-awaited step forward on reauthorizing and modernizing Federal Child Nutrition Programs, which were last reauthorized in 2010.
A few notable highlights include:
- Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)
- Main takeaway: More Oklahoma schools will be able to offer no-cost meals to all students.
- The multiplier for schools participating in the CEP will increase from 1.6 to 2.5.
- The threshold to allow schools to participate in CEP will be lowered.
- There would be a new statewide CEP option for states that qualify.
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Main takeaway: It will be easier for WIC participants to access the program and use their benefits.
- Extends WIC eligibility for children through the child’s sixth birthday, or the day they begin kindergarten, whichever is first.
- Increases length of certification periods to two years.
- Invests funding to modernize WIC benefit delivery and redemption.
- Allows for WIC funds to cover breastfeeding supplies.
- Summer Meals and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
- Main takeaway: Providers will have the option of providing more meals, and the Summer EBT program will be available to all eligible Oklahoma students moving forward.
- Reduces the eligibility threshold for 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.
- Provides an option for non-school SFSP providers to provide meals under SFSP year-round, reducing administrative burden.
- Creates a competitive grant program to help increase access to meal sites through transportation and mobile meal delivery.
- Allows a third meal to be served by SFSP providers.
- Makes Summer EBT a permanent, nationwide program which would provide qualifying children $75 per month in the summer.
- Allows CACFP providers to provide up to two meals and two snacks or three meals and one snack.
Above is just a snapshot of some of the important provisions in the bill. We will provide a more detailed analysis once the bill is through the legislative process. If you want to dig deeper now, here is an overview of the bill and here is the full text of the bill.
School Year 2020–2021 Benefits:
Families who filled out the review form on OSDE’s page are starting to receive these benefits.
School Year 2021–2022 Benefits:
Oklahoma was recently approved to operate the P-EBT program for school closures during the 2021–2022 school year. At this time, we are unsure of when these benefits will be issued.
Summer 2022 Benefits:
Oklahoma was recently approved to operate the P-EBT program for Summer 2022. Unlike school year benefits, summer benefits are a uniform amount of $391 for all qualifying children. At this time, we believe benefits will start going out in the next few weeks.
Federal Public Health Emergency
Earlier this month the federal public health emergency was extended to October 13, 2022. At this time, it is being predicted that the emergency declaration might be extended one more time (from October 2022 through January 2023), though no official action has been announced or taken yet. The end of the federal public health emergency will mean several changes to federal nutrition programs. We are tracking this very closely and will keep our partners updated with the latest information.
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