An Introduction to Child Nutrition Reauthorization

July 28, 2015 An Introduction to Child Nutrition Reauthorization The “child nutrition programs” (National School Lunch Program and certain other institutional food service programs) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs are up for reauthorization during the 114th Congress. Some of the authorities created or extended in the last reauthorization law (Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (P.L. 111296)) expire on September 30, 2015. Child nutrition reauthorization refers to Congress’s process of making changes, additions, and deletions to the permanent statutes that authorize the child nutrition programs, WIC, and related policies: (1) Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, (2) Child Nutrition Act, and sometimes (3) Section 32 of the Act of August 24, 1935. Major Programs Typically Amended in a Child Nutrition Reauthorization Table 1 summarizes the major programs that have been part of a child nutrition reauthorization. There are smaller grant programs or school meals’ support functions that are not listed. The five main child nutrition programs are the • • • • • National School Lunch Program (NSLP); School Breakfast Program (SBP); Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP); Summer Food Service Program (SFSP); and Special Milk Program. Participating children (and adults for CACFP) receive subsidized meals, snacks and/or milk, which, if eligible, may be free or at reduced price. States and food-serving institutions receive federal reimbursements for the food served. Some programs also receive USDA commodity food assistance. Details vary by program. WIC provides eligible low-income women, infants, and children (under five years old) with specific supplemental foods as well as certain services. The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides vouchers redeemable at farmers markets to WIC participants. Related Programs and Policies in the Farm Bill The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable (“Snack”) Program (FFVP) is authorized in the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act. Since 2008 it has been amended, if at all, during omnibus farm bill legislation. No amendments to FFVP were made during the 2010 child nutrition reauthorization. The most recent farm bill (P.L. 113-79) reauthorized the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as well as USDA’s purchase of foods for the child nutrition programs. Categorization of Programs’ Funding Most of the WIC and child nutrition programs’ funding is provided by appropriation bills; this includes mandatory and discretionary funds: • The majority of the child nutrition programs’ funding is mandatory, particularly the programs’ per-meal reimbursements. • There are some smaller child nutrition grants and activities that are funded with discretionary appropriations (e.g., Team Nutrition). • WIC and WIC FMNP funds are discretionary. The child nutrition programs also receive support from some sources outside the appropriations process. Most significantly, USDA’s Section 32 program, a permanent appropriation of 30% of the previous year’s customs receipts, transfers certain funds to the child nutrition programs annually. Last Reauthorization The 2010 reauthorization, Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-296), included a number of new and revised policies, particularly for the school meals programs (NSLP and SBP). In some cases, the new policies’ details are largely described within the statute (e.g., community eligibility provision, an option for eligible schools to provide all meals for free). In other cases, the details of the policy were laid out in USDA-promulgated regulations (e.g., updated school meals nutrition standards and new nutrition standards for other foods sold in schools). Significance of September 30, 2015 Many of the programs’ authorizing provisions are permanent (i.e., they do not have an expiration date associated with them). This is the case for the main functions of NSLP, SBP, CACFP, and Special Milk. Other programs, including SFSP, WIC, WIC FMNP, and the State Administrative Expenses (funding for states’ operation of certain programs), face an expiration date of September 30, 2015, for the authorization of their appropriations. However, even without an authorization extension beyond that date, Congress can still choose to provide funding via the appropriations process, allowing these programs to continue to operate. Several policies set to expire after September 30, 2015— not authorizations of appropriations—could be affected if their authorizing dates are not changed. These are not major program functions, but have interested stakeholders. This list includes a California program to provide SFSP food year-round, certain food safety audits, and preappropriated funds for a National Hunger Clearinghouse. www.crs.gov | 7-5700 An Introduction to Child Nutrition Reauthorization Table 1. Child Nutrition and WIC Programs at a Glance Program Authorizing Statute (Year First Authorized) Distinguishing Characteristics Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (1946) • • School Breakfast Program Child Nutrition Act (1966) • • Child and Adult Care Food Program (child care center, day care homes, adult day care centers) Child and Adult Care Food Program (at-risk after-school snacks and meals)a Summer Food Service Program Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (1968) • Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (1994) • Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (1968) • National School Lunch Program • • • • • Special Milk Program Child Nutrition Act (1954) • • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Child Nutrition Act (1974) • WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Child Nutrition Act (1992) • Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (2002) • Lunches at school Typically served in schools, to pre-K-12 students, during the school day and year Possible to provide meals during summer and snacks. Breakfasts at school (also for pre-K-12) Typically served in schools, to K-12 students, during the school day and year Meals and snacks in early childhood and adult day care settings Rules and funding differ based on type of institution Supper and snacks for school-age children after-school Eligibility based on area eligibility Meals and snacks provided during summer months Sites vary and include schools, community centers, camps, parks, and others Eligibility rules vary for “open” and “closed” sites Subsidizes milk, not meals or snacks Institutions eligible must not participate in NSLP or SBP Provides benefits redeemable for supplemental foods; and nutrition counseling, and breastfeeding support, to pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women; infants; and children (under five years old). Provides vouchers for WIC participants to redeem at farmers’ markets. Provides free fresh fruit and vegetable snacks to elementary school students FY2014 Expenditures (in millions) exceptions noted FY2014 Average Daily Participation exceptions noted $12,656 30.4 million $3,686 13.6 million $3,133 (includes at-risk after-school spending, described below) (Not available; included in CACFP total above) $466 3.8 million children; 122,000 adults $11 222,000 half-pints servedb $6,277 8.3 million average monthly $17 1.6 million recipients in FY2013 Not available $168 (school year 2013-2014) 977,000 children (included in CACFP children above) 2.7 million (July 2014) Source: Except where noted, participation and funding data from USDA-FNS Key Data Report, generated July10, 2015, based on data through April 2015. WIC costs figure subtracts WIC FMNP. a. At-risk after-school snacks and meals are part of CACFP law and CACFP funding, but differ in their rules and the age of children served. b. FY2016 congressional budget justification p. 32-63. CRS Report R41354, Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization: P.L. 111-296 CRS Reports for Further Detail: CRS Report R42353, Domestic Food Assistance: Summary of Programs CRS Report R43783, School Meals Programs and Other USDA Child Nutrition Programs: A Primer CRS Report R44115, A Primer on WIC: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children CRS Report RL34081, Farm and Food Support Under USDA’s Section 32 Program Randy Alison Aussenberg, raussenberg@crs.loc.gov, 78641 www.crs.gov | 7-5700 IF10266