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The California Department of Education (CDE) 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.

  • 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 CDE 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.

Meal Programs | Instruction, Training, & Professional Development | Program Resources

Meal Programs

  • School Nutrition
    The principal meal and milk programs offered at public and private nonprofit schools and residential child care institutions.
  • 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 the CACFP.
  • After School
    Information and resources about healthy snacks, nutrition education, and physical activity for afterschool programs.
  • Summer Food Service
    Federal meal programs for children from low-income areas during vacation and off-track periods.

Instruction, Training, & Professional Development

  • Child Nutrition Program Education and Training (Currently Learning Support Food Service Education & Training)
    Training opportunities and helpful Web sites for child nutrition program personnel to support their professional development.
  • Healthy Eating and Nutrition Education
    Information about improving nutrition and establishing healthy eating habits in school, child care, adult, and afterschool settings. Includes information about local school wellness policy.
  • Professional Development (Currently Professional Learning Education & Training)
    Information on professional standards and professional development resources for School Nutrition Program personnel.

Program Resources

  • Administrative Review
    An overview of the areas that will be reviewed during the Administrative Review by a Nutrition Program Consultant from the CDE Nutrition Services Division.
  • Child Nutrition Information & Payment System (CNIPS)
    The CNIPS is a 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 meals data, school meal nutrition analysis, and summer meal service sites.
  • Legislation, Regulations, & Policies
    Current and proposed legislation, regulations, and policies for child nutrition programs administration.
  • Procurement in Child Nutrition Programs
    Federal and state information for the procurement of food service related goods and services across all federally funded child nutrition programs and the USDA Foods Program.
  • Rates, Eligibility Scales, & Funding
    Reimbursement rates, annual eligibility scales, and funding information.
  • USDA Civil Rights
    USDA Food and Nutrition Service policies and procedures about nondiscrimination in the administration of the child nutrition and food distribution programs.
Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, February 3, 2016

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