Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information
To: Child Nutrition Program Sponsors
Attention: Food Program Director, Food Service Director
Date: June 2014
Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture Policy Memorandum SP 49‑2014, CACFP 13-2014, and SFSP 19-2014: Area Eligibility Using Census Data
Subject: Area Eligibility Using Census Data
This Management Bulletin (MB) provides updated guidance on establishing area eligibility when using census data in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), Seamless Summer Feeding Option (SSFO), and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The additional flexibilities in this guidance are effective immediately.
BackgroundSponsors may use census data when determining area eligibility for CACFP and certain SFSP and SSFO sites. Eligibility is established when census data indicates that at least 50 percent of the children residing in the area are members of households that meet the income standards for free or reduced-price meals (Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations [7 CFR], sections 226.15[f] and 225.6[c][B]). Previous policy guidance has identified census block groups (CBG) as the geographical unit used to assess eligibility for SFSP, SSFO, and CACFP, when using census data (U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] Policy Memorandum CACFP 07-2012, SFSP 09-2012, Eligibility Based on Census Data: 2012 Data Release).
Area Eligibility Using Census Data
SFSP sites, SSFO sites, and CACFP day care homes may now determine area eligibility using either CBGs or census tracts. Census tracts are geographical units that consist of one or more of the CBGs. Additionally, up to three adjacent CBGs may be averaged, using a weighted average, to determine eligibility. At least 40 percent of children must be eligible for free and reduced-price meals in each of the CBGs being averaged. Census tracts may not be combined.
In short, SFSP sites, SSFO sites, and CACFP day care homes are considered area eligible under any of the following scenarios:
- If 50 percent or more of the children in a census tract are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals
- If 50 percent or more of the children in a CBG are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals
- If the percentage of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals in up to three adjacent CBGs, when averaged, is 50 percent or more; provided that at least 40 percent of children in each of the combined CBGs are eligible for free and reduced-price meals
Data Availability and Eligibility Maps
Census tract and CBG data is now available through the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Mapper on the USDA Area Eligibility Web page at http://www.fns.usda.gov/areaeligibility. This mapper allows sponsors to combine up to three CBGs to determine site eligibility according to this new policy. The USDA FNS created an Area Eligibility mapper demonstration video that can be viewed on the YouTube SFSP Summer Mapping Demo Web page at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbPDT_7xpSo.
The USDA also provides the current census tract data to the Food Research and Action Center. This data can also be used to determine eligibility and is available on the FairData CACFP Expansion Maps Web page at http://www.fairdata2000.com/CACFP and the FairData SFSP Expansion Maps Web page at http://www.fairdata2000.com/SummerFood.
If you have any questions regarding this MB, please contact the appropriate Nutrition Services Division Specialists for your agency.
School Nutrition Programs (SNP): A contact list of SNP Specialists is available in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS), Form ID Caseload SNP. You can also contact Susan Phun, SNP Unit Office Technician, by phone at 916-322-1450 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, to be directed to your SNP Specialist.
CACFP: A contact list of CACFP Specialists is available in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS, Form ID CACFP 01. You can also contact Nancy Charpentier, CACFP Unit Office Technician, by phone at 916-322-2771 or by e-mail at email@example.com, to be directed to your CACFP Specialist.
SFSP: A contact list of SFSP Specialists is available in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS, Form ID SFSP 01. You can also contact Larry Frakes, SFSP Office Technician, by phone at 916-322-8323 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, to be directed to your SFSP Specialist.