The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act authorizes all of the federal school meal and child nutrition programs, which provide funding to ensure that low-income children have access to healthy and nutritious foods. The child nutrition programs touch millions of children each day, and improve educational achievement, economic security, nutrition and health.
Although the programs are permanently authorized, every five years Congress reviews these programs through the reauthorization process. Reauthorization provides an opportunity to improve and strengthen these programs so they better meet the needs of our nation’s children.
The reauthorization amends two existing statutes: the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966. The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry S. Truman in 1946, created the National School Lunch Program “as a measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children.” Twenty years later, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 into law, which established the School Breakfast Program.
Not long after, programs such as the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and other child nutrition programs were added to the National School Lunch Act.
See the Federal Food/Nutrition Programs section on this site to find more information about these programs.
In the House, the House Education and Labor Committee has jurisdiction over the child nutrition programs. In the Senate, the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee has jurisdiction over the programs.
Millions of low-income children benefit from the healthy food provided by the child nutrition programs. Schools, afterschool and summer programs, and child care providers also benefit from the valuable funding that helps cover the costs of providing nutritious food to hungry children.