Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004
FRAC's Priorities for Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2004
- Support passage of reauthorization legislation that expands children’s access to key nutrition programs including WIC and school meals;
- Support funding for child nutrition programs in the House-passed bill (H.R. 3873), and:
- Promote outside school hours nutrition programs by extending the “Lugar” Summer Food Service Program pilots nationwide and to all sponsors (S. 1021);
- Improve rural access by piloting, in selected states, the expansion of Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) eligibility to family child care homes in rural areas where 40% (rather than 50%) of the children are low-income (S. 1022);
- Expand the supper pilots (in afterschool programs) to additional states (S. 1022);
- Promote and improve children’s access to good nutrition, healthy eating and lifestyles; and
- Maintain the school meal programs as successful and user-friendly by opposing any increase in income verifications, which would push eligible children out of the programs, or any removal of safeguards that protect vulnerable children.
On June 30, 2004, President Bush signed the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 into law (Public Law 108-265). The Act expanded the availability of nutritious meals and snacks to more children in school, in outside school hours programs, and in child care; and improved the quality of food in schools. Highlights of the 2004 Act:
National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs
- Phased in mandatory direct certification of food stamp households as eligible for free school meals, meaning that those families would no longer need to fill out any paperwork to start receiving free school meals.
- Extending eligibility for free school meals throughout the school year and allowed families to fill out one application for all children in the household.
- Provided migrant, homeless and runaway children with automatic eligibility for free school meals.
- Required school districts to adopt local school wellness policies that address healthy eating and physical activity.
- Expanded the fresh fruit and vegetable pilots (in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and an Indian reservation in New Mexico) to Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington and Indian reservations in Arizona and South Dakota, with special emphasis in new states on serving children in low-income areas.
- Eliminated paperwork requirements for schools in low-income areas to automatically receive higher “severe need” school breakfast reimbursements.
- Made it possible for up to five states to offer free school meals to families eligible for reduced price meals, relieving them of the cost of up to 40 cents per meal, depending upon Congressional funding.
- Excluding privatized housing vouchers from being counted as military family income, which made more children in military families eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
- Allowed school districts to reduce paperwork and streamline school meal operations under Provisions 2 and 3.
- Changed the methods that schools use to select households for verification of their eligibility for free or reduced price meals.
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
- Expanded the successful SFSP paperwork reduction program (formerly known as “Lugar Pilots”) to private non-profit sponsors.
- Added six states – Colorado, Mississippi, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon, and Ohio – to the expanded SFSP paperwork reduction program.
- Made the Seamless Summer Option permanent, allowing schools to offer summer meals as an extension of the school lunch program, rather than also having to operate the SFSP.
- Changed the SFSP area eligibility threshold in rural areas of Pennsylvania from 50 to 40 percent for two years.
- Allowed California private non-profit organizations and local government agencies (excluding schools) to feed children year-round through SFSP.
- Provided for 60 sponsors in five states to implement innovative solutions to rural transportation barriers in the SFSP for three years.
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
- Extended eligibility for snacks and meals for children in homeless and domestic violence shelters from the age of 12 to the age of 18.
- Allowed for-profit child care centers serving significant numbers of low-income children to feed children using CACFP.
- Extended the CACFP area eligibility threshold for family child care homes in rural areas of Nebraska from 50 to 40 percent for two years.
- Extended the duration of area eligibility from three to five years.
- Provided relief from CACFP paperwork burdens by raising the audit disregard, allowing permanent agreements, and creating a USDA led paperwork reduction effort.
- Excluded privatized military housing allowances from consideration as income when determining low-income eligibility for CACFP.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- Expanded the definition of WIC nutrition education to include education designed to achieve a positive change in physical activity habits.
- Expanded the definition of WIC foods to include foods that promote the health of the WIC population as indicated by relevant science, public health concerns, and cultural eating patterns.
- Required USDA to issue a final rule updating the WIC food package, and mandated a scientific review and revision of the WIC food package as often as necessary.
- Allowed the certification of breast-feeding women for up to 1 year.
- Provided vendor management cost containment requirements for WIC-Only stores in order to reduce higher prices charged by many of these stores which, if unaddressed, could lead to fewer WIC participants.
Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program
- Provided a State option to expand the definition of Farmer’s Market to include road side stands.
- Raised the maximum federal benefit from $20 to $30 per season.