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CNIPS - 2023-24 Verification Report

This announcement provides school food authorities (SFA) with information on annual verification reporting requirements.

By January 16, 2024, National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) SFAs must submit their annual verification report (VR) to the California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division through the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) External link opens in new window or tab.. The report requires SFAs that participate in the NSLP or SBP to report the verification results of their annual free and reduced-price (F\RP) application process to the CDE. The CDE then reports consolidated verification results for all SFAs on the NSLP or SBP to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Please note: Even if your district or agency is not required to conduct verification activities (e.g., because your schools are on the Community Eligibility Provision or in a non-base year of Provision 2) all SFAs must complete and submit the VR in the CNIPS. Also, SFAs operating Universal Meals must still complete the verification process if they are using standard meal counting and claiming procedures.

Important Information about the Verification Report

For all SFAs required to complete direct certification (DC), the USDA requires SFAs and the CDE to individually report on the number of students directly certified through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (CalFresh in California), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (CalWORKS in California), Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California), and through other programs. In compliance with federal regulations, the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) provides a Certification Status code that designates the program of eligibility as follows:

S–Student is eligible for free meals only through CalFresh

T–Student is eligible for free meals only through CalWORKS

M–Student is eligible for free meals only through Medi-Cal

R–Student is eligible for reduced-price meals through meeting the income eligibility criteria of Medi-Cal

N–Student is not directly certified for F/RP meals, because no match was found

SFAs without Access to CALPADS

SFAs that complete the DC process with a local county agency that does not designate the program of eligibility will need to work in partnership with the county agency to obtain data that is compliant with USDA requirements and the benchmarks set by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 Section 101. For information regarding the HHFKA, please visit the USDA NSLP: DC Continuous Improvement Plans Required by the HHFKA of 2010 web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Verification Report Instructions

SFAs must access the VR through the CNIPS External link opens in new window or tab.. Instructions to complete the VR, as well as the Verification Reporting training video, are on the CDE Verification Reporting web page. Please read all of the instructions and watch the training video before completing the report.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact your School Nutrition Programs (SNP) County Specialist. A current list of SNP Specialists is available on the SNP Specialist Directory web page. You can also email

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Friday, November 17, 2023
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    Instructions for local education agencies (LEAs) on submitting the verification collection report through the Child Nutrition and Information Payment System (CNIPS) using the verification report function.
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