Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Beneficial Information
Date: March 2014
To: Child and Adult Care Food Program Sponsors, School Nutrition Program Seamless Summer Option Sponsors, and Summer Food Service Program Sponsors
Attention: Food Service and Program Directors
Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture Policy Memoranda SP 03-2014, CACFP 01-2014, SFSP 03-2014; SP 05-2014, CACFP 02-2014, SFSP 05-2014; and SP 32-2013
Subject: Census Data Release: Federal Fiscal Year 2014 and Use of School and Census Data
Supersedes: California Department of Education Management Bulletins USDA-SFSP-01-2007, USDA-CACFP-09-2013, and USDA-SFSP-03-2013
This Management Bulletin (MB) provides additional guidance on the use of census and school data to establish area eligibility in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and the Seamless Summer Feeding Option (SSFO) of the National School Lunch Program. It also announces the new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) schedule for releasing census data used for area eligibility determinations for these programs and consolidates information from previous USDA guidance related to simplifying the area eligibility process.
Sponsors may use either census data or school data to determine if a site is area eligible. The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA) allows the use of census data to establish tier I eligibility for CACFP day care homes (Title 42, U.S. Code [U.S.C.] 1766[f][A][ii][I][aa]) and area eligibility for SFSP sites (42 U.S.C. 1761[a][A][i][II]). The NSLA also allows the use of school data to establish area eligibility in the CACFP (42 U.S.C. 1766[f][A][ii][I][bb]) and SFSP (42 U.S.C. 1761[a][A][i][I]). The use of census and school data to determine whether a site is area eligible in the SSFO is established in USDA Policy Memorandum SP 32-2013.
Census Data Release: Federal Fiscal Year 2014 Background
Sponsors may establish area eligibility for CACFP day care homes, SFSP sites, and SSFO sites by using the most recent data obtained by the FNS from the Census Bureau. In each of the past two years, the FNS has released the new Census Bureau data in February.
SFSP and SSFO sponsors reported that the February data release made it difficult to approve new sites since the data used to qualify sites was subject to change. In order to address the problem, the FNS is adjusting the release of Census Bureau data to October, starting in 2014. Until then, CACFP, SFSP, and SSFO agencies should continue using the dataset from February 2013. The new schedule for the release of Census Bureau data should encourage early approval of SFSP and SSFO sites, as well as increase access to summer meals.
Availability of Census Data
The FNS provides the current data to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). The data is available at the FairData 2013 FRAC CACFP Mapper Web page at http://www.fairdata2000.com/CACFP and the 2013 FRAC Summer Food Mapper Web page at http://www.fairdata2000.com/SummerFood.
Availability of School Data
Sponsors may also use school data to establish area eligibility for the CACFP, SFSP, and SSFO, excluding camps. It must indicate that the proposed meal location is within a school attendance area where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.
The California Department of Education (CDE) creates a list of schools—including elementary, middle, and high schools—in the state where at least 50 percent of their enrolled children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. This information is provided by the CDE each year by February 15 and is based on data from a designated month, most commonly the month of October (Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations [7 CFR], Section 226.6[f][viii][A] and 226.6[f][ix][A]). For assistance obtaining school data, please contact your School Nutrition Program (SNP), CACFP, or SFSP Specialist.
In situations where data from a more recent month in the school year is available and establishes area eligibility for an otherwise ineligible location, school data from that month can now be used to establish area eligibility.
Prioritization of Data
The NSLA permits the use of either census or school data to determine eligibility of CACFP day care homes without prioritizing either data source. However, CACFP regulations currently require agencies to first make a reasonable effort to establish area eligibility with school data prior to using census data (7 CFR Section 226.15[f]). Previously, when census data was released decennially, school data was thought to better reflect the current socioeconomic status of a given area. Because census data is now annually estimated and released, this policy is no longer necessary. CACFP sponsors may now use either school or census data for applicable area eligibility determinations.
As a reminder, census data may not be used to establish area eligibility for at-risk afterschool centers in the CACFP.
Duration of Area Eligibility
Area eligibility determinations made using either school or census data must be redetermined every five years. For schools or school food authorities participating in either the SFSP or SSFO, once a site establishes area eligibility, the eligibility stands for a period of five years, regardless of any transition from one program to the other.
If you have any questions regarding this MB, please contact your SNP, CACFP, or SFSP Specialist.
SNP: The SNP County Specialist list is available in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) Download Forms section, titled School Nutrition Programs Unit County Assignments by Specialist. You may also contact the SNP Office Technician by phone at 916-322-1450 or 800-952-5609.
CACFP: The CACFP Specialist list is available in the CNIPS Download Forms section, titled CACFP Contact List and County Assignments. You may also contact the CACFP Office Technician by phone at 916-327-2991 or 800-952-5609.
SFSP: The SFSP Specialist list is available in the CNIPS Download Forms section, titled SFSP County Specialist Contact List. You may also contact the SFSP Office Technician by phone at 916-322-8323 or 800-952-5609.