What is it?
Every five years, Congress must review all of the child nutrition programs that provide food to low-income children across the country and throughout the year. Programs reviewed under the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act (CNR) include the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the Summer Food Service Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and others.
Who does it affect?
The child nutrition programs are designed to reach children at different stages of life and at different times throughout the year, forming a crucial safety net for low-income children and helping families stretch limited resources. For example, the WIC Program provides healthy food to women during pregnancy and breast-feeding, and to children from birth to age 5. CACFP provides nutritious food to children in childcare. When children begin full-day school, they can receive free or reduced-priced breakfast and lunch. Free after-school snacks, suppers and summer meals are also available in some communities.
Where does the legislation stand now?
The current child nutrition act is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2015, which means Congress has the opportunity to further build on improvements made to these nutrition programs in recent years.
Priorities would include:
- Strengthing programs programs that provide free summer meals for kids while school is out, including increasing access in rural areas and funding innovative pilot projects
- Further expanding the Afterschool Meal Program
- Supporting the continued expansion of the National School Breakfast Program nationwide
- Ensuring more kids have access to early childhood nutrition programs, such as WIC and CACFP
We’ll keep you posted on this legislation in the coming months.