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State Adjusts Income Eligibility Guidelines For Free, Reduced Price Meals At Schools

tt-smallMore low-income families will be able to afford healthy meals and snacks for their children in day care under new income eligibility guidelines announced today by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

Under the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), families with children in child care centers can qualify for free or reduced-price meals if their household income is equal to or less than the income eligibility guidelines. Nearly 5,000 local day care centers and 17,000 sponsored family day care home providers in California participate in the CACFP.


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“At the heart of my Team California for Healthy Kids initiative is that a well-nourished child has a better shot at success inside and outside the classroom than a child struggling with hunger,” Torlakson said. “I urge every family to review these new guidelines to see if they qualify to get their children nutritionally balanced meals and snacks. This will help kids develop lifelong habits of healthy eating and set the stage for their academic success in school.”

The CACFP provides nutritious food to infants, children, and adults. All children enrolled in day care homes receive meals at no charge. Most participating day care centers also provide meals at no charge. In centers that have a separate charge for meals, participants may receive free or reduced-price meals.

Torlakson initiated the Team California for Healthy Kids campaign earlier this year to promote healthy eating and physical activity among children. Research confirms healthy children are more successful in school, miss fewer days of school, are more attentive and well-behaved, and are more likely to graduate from high school and go to college. Health disparities among students contribute to the achievement gap.

The new income eligibility scales are higher than last year, meaning more families with children in child care centers will be eligible for free and reduced-priced meals. For example, a family of four that earns $29,055 or less a year (up from $28,665 last year) can qualify for free meals and snacks. Also, a family of four that earns $41,348 or less a year (up from $40,793 last year) can qualify for reduced-priced meals and snacks. The Income Eligibility Scales are attached.

Children who receive California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids, CalFresh (formerly Food Stamps), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment Program, Head Start, Early Head Start, or the Even Start Program are automatically eligible for free meal benefits. Adults who receive CalFresh, FDPIR, Social Security Income, or Medicaid benefits are also eligible for free meals. Institutions serve meals to all participants regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

In accordance with federal law and USDA policy, the California Department of Education is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to the USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or call 866-632-9992 (Voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339, or 800-845-6136 (Spanish). The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

To find day care home sponsors, please visit the CDE Web site at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/sh/sn/cacfpsponsormap.asp and search by county. For a child or adult day care center, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/sh/sn/cacfpcentermap.asp and search by county. For more information on the income eligibility scales, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/rs/scales1112.asp.

# # # #

Free Eligibility Scale
Meals, Snacks, and Milk

Household Size

Annual

Monthly

Twice Per Month

Every Two Weeks

Weekly

1

$14,157

$1,180

$590

$545

$273

2

$19,123

$1,594

$797

$736

$368

3

$24,089

$2,008

$1,004

$927

$464

4

$29,055

$2,422

$1,211

$1,118

$559

5

$34,021

$2,836

$1,418

$1,309

$655

6

$38,987

$3,249

$1,625

$1,500

$750

7

$43,953

$3,663

$1,832

$1,691

$846

8

$48,919

$4,077

$2,039

$1,882

$941

For each additional family member, add:

+$4,966

+$414

+$207

+$191

+$96

Reduced-Price Eligibility Scale
Meals and Snacks

Household Size

Annual

Monthly

Twice Per Month

Every Two Weeks

Weekly

1

$20,147

$1,679

$840

$775

$388

2

$27,214

$2,268

$1,134

$1,047

$524

3

$34,281

$2,857

$1,429

$1,319

$660

4

$41,348

$3,446

$1,723

$1,591

$796

5

$48,415

$4,035

$2,018

$1,863

$932

6

$55,482

$4,624

$2,312

$2,134

$1,067

7

$62,549

$5,213

$2,607

$2,406

$1,203

8

$69,616

$5,802

$2,901

$2,678

$1,339

For each additional family member, add:

+$7,067

+$589

+$295

+$272

+$136

  • Household is synonymous with family and means a group of related or unrelated individuals who are not residents of an institution of boarding house, but who are living as one economic unit sharing housing and all significant income and expenses. This scale does not apply to households that receive CalFresh (formerly Food Stamps), Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment (Kin-Gap), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits or children who are recipients of California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Program (CalWORKs). Those children are automatically eligible for free meal benefits.
  • In the Adult Care Component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program, a household includes the adult participant and, if residing with the participant, the spouse, and any persons who are economically dependent on the adult participant. This scale does not apply to members of CalFresh (formerly Food Stamps) households, or recipients of Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid/Medi-Cal, or FDPIR benefits. Those participants are automatically eligible for free meals.