Child Nutrition


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Programs


National School Lunch Program

The National School Lunch Act, passed in 1946, established school lunch programs across the nation. The purpose of the program was to safeguard the health and well-being of the nation's children and to encourage the consumption of agricultural abundance. 

The National School Lunch Program is available to any public or private nonprofit school or licensed residential child care institution. The objectives of the National School Lunch Program are to make available to all students enrolled in schools and institutions a meal during a period designated as the lunch period; to provide nutritionally adequate meals that are acceptable to students, thus reducing plate waste; to provide assistance to participants to ensure that minimum meal requirements are met; and to ensure that all programs are accountable. School districts and residential child care institutions may receive reimbursement for lunches served to enrolled students at predetermined rates established for free, reduced-price, or full-price meals each fiscal year. 

In 1995, the federal government implemented regulations that require all school lunches and breakfasts to be consistent with the recommendation for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This rule established specific minimum standards for calories and key nutrients that meals must meet.

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National School Breakfast Program

Established by federal legislation in 1966, the School Breakfast Program received permanent authorization in 1975. The purposes of this program are to make breakfast available in schools for students who, for various reasons, come to school without an adequate breakfast and to increase the number of school breakfast programs by continuing to notify all nonbreakfast-program schools as to the availability of the program.

As with the National School Lunch Program, any public or private nonprofit school or licensed residential child care institution is eligible to benefit from the School Breakfast Program. School districts and residential child care institutions may receive reimbursement for breakfasts served to enrolled students at predetermined rates established for free, reduced-price, or full-price meals each fiscal year.

In 1995, the federal government implemented regulations that require all school lunches and breakfasts to be consistent with the recommendation for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This rule established specific minimum standards for calories and key nutrients that meals must meet.

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After-School Snack Program

The After-School Snack Program was created to provide after-school snacks to children who participate in an organized after-school enrichment or educational program. The after-school program must provide children with regularly scheduled activities in a structured and supervised setting and must be run by a school that is operating the National School Lunch Program.

Schools participating in the After-School Snack Program may claim reimbursement for one snack per child per day for participating children enrolled in public school. A qualifying after-school program located in an attendance area of a school site in which at least 50 percent of the enrolled students are certified for free or reduced-price meals may receive reimbursement for snacks served to students at the free rate. A qualifying after-school program located in an attendance area that does not meet the 50 percent free and reduce-price criteria may receive reimbursement for snacks served to students at the free, reduced-price, or full-price rates established each new fiscal year.

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Special Milk Program

In 1954, the Special Milk Program was implemented to encourage fluid milk consumption by selling milk to students at the lowest possible price and serving milk free to students determined to be eligible. Beginning in 1981 and continuing through 1986, this program was available only to schools and nonprofit child care institutions not participating in the National School Lunch and/or School Breakfast Programs. In 1986, the Special Milk Program was expanded to include split-session kindergarten children who do not have access to the breakfast and/or lunch programs because of their half-day schedules. The benefits of the program were also extended to preprimary class students who do not have access to the breakfast and/or lunch program because of their half-day schedules.

School districts which have split-session kindergarten and preprimary students who do not have access to the National School Lunch and/or School Breakfast Programs may receive reimbursement for milk served to these students. Schools may choose either to serve milk free to students qualifying according to family income, serve milk at a set price to all students, or serve milk free to all students.

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Child and Adult Care Food Program 

  • Child and Adult Care Food Program Institutions | Excel | PDF |

The Special Food Service Program for Children, established by Congress in 1968, was the forerunner of the Child Care Food Program. Further legislation in 1975, 1978, 1981, and 1987 clarified, expanded, and made permanent the Child Care Food Program. The title was changed in 1989 to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). 

Child care centers, adult day care centers, Head Start programs, and family day care homes may participate in the CACFP. Eligible institutions include settlement houses, day care centers, organizations providing day care services for disabled individuals and /or adults 60 years of age or older, and outside-school-hours care centers. Organizations eligible to sponsor a CACFP include units of state or local government; nonprofit private organizations such as community action agencies and churches; and private for-profit organizations sponsoring Title XX and Title XIX centers which receive Title XX and Title XIX compensation for at least 25 percent of the participants enrolled or 25 percent of license capacity, whichever is less. 

Two types of assistance are available through the CACFP. The first of these—cash reimbursement—is available for meals and/or supplements meeting the United States Department of Agriculture meal pattern requirements, but not exceeding three meals per day per child. The second type of assistance available through the program is in the form of commodities donated by the United States Department of Agriculture. Commodities are made available to eligible participating agencies through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Food and Nutrition Service Unit.

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Last updated on October 1, 2014