Reporting to Congress on Direct Certification Rates for the National School Lunch Program

Prepared For

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, to issue annual reports to Congress assessing the effectiveness of efforts to directly certify children for free school meals under the National School Lunch Program

States and local education agencies use direct certification to identify children eligible for these meals without the need for household applications.

Mathematica is assessing direct certification efforts for the 2014–2015 school year and working on its eighth annual report to Congress. These reports provide state-by-state estimates of key direct certification performance measures, including the percentage of children participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and directly certified for free school meals. The estimates are used to identify states with direct certification rates below 95 percent that must adopt direct certification improvement plans, as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The reports also describe best practices for states with successful or improved direct certification systems.

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Kevin  Conway

Kevin Conway

Director, Advisory Services

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