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The California Department of Education helps schools, child care programs, and other community programs provide healthy meals and snacks to children. Almost every school in California serves lunch to its students. Some schools also serve breakfast and snacks. A child may be able to get free meals or meals at a very low cost.

The Department's nutrition services are administered by the Nutrition Services Division

  • Learn more about free or low-cost meals that may be available to your child by contacting your local school district, day care program or homeless shelter. To find contact information for your school, go to the California Department of Education California School Directory Web page.
  • The Nutrition - CalEdFacts page provides a more detailed overview of nutrition services offered in California schools and child care programs.
  • The links and information below were developed for educators and others who are directly involved with nutrition-services programs in California.

Program Overview
Overview of nutrition support provided by the California Department of Education (CDE).
Administrative Review
An overview of the areas that will be reviewed during the Administrative Review by a Nutrition Program Consultant from the California Department of Education Nutrition Services.
After School
Information and resources about healthy snacks, nutrition education, and physical activity for after school programs.
Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
Information about meal programs offered at public and private child care centers, day care homes, adult day care centers, and homeless shelters under CACFP.
Child Nutrition Information & Payment System (CNIPS)
CNIPS is a new Web-based system for local sponsors of federal food programs to more easily submit and track the status of their applications, claims, changes, and commodity requests to the CDE.
Claim Reimbursements
Fiscal information to aid nutrition sponsors and to provide information about claiming meal reimbursements.
Food Distribution
Information about U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods, Department of Defense (DOD) fresh produce, distribution centers, and processing of USDA Foods.
Food Program Data
Child nutrition programs data and statistics, including county profiles, free and reduced price data, school meal nutrition analysis, and summer meal service sites.
Food Service Education & Training
Education and training information for child nutrition professionals in school food service, nutrition, and food safety.
Healthy Eating & Nutrition Education
Information about improving nutrition and establishing healthy eating habits in school, child care, adult, and after school settings.
Legislation, Regulations, & Policies
Current and proposed legislation, regulations, and policies for child nutrition programs administration.
Rates, Eligibility Scales, & Funding
Reimbursement rates, annual eligibility scales, and funding information.
School Nutrition
Meal and milk programs offered at public and private nonprofit schools and residential child care institutions.
Summer Meal Programs
Federal meal programs for children from low-income areas during vacation and off-track periods.
USDA Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Agriculture Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) policies and procedures about nondiscrimination in the administration of the child nutrition and food distribution programs.

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