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Assembly Bill 626—Afterschool Meals


Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Action Required, Beneficial Information

To: School Nutrition Sponsors and At-risk Afterschool Agencies

Attention: Food Service Directors and Business Officials

Number: SNP-05-2014

Date: January 2014

Reference: Assembly Bill 626 (Skinner), Chapter 706, Statutes of 2013 California Education Code sections 8423, 8482.3, and 8483.3 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

Subject: Assembly Bill 626—Afterschool Meals


This Management Bulletin (MB) provides information regarding the implementation of Assembly Bill 626 (Skinner), Chapter 706, Statutes of 2013, which in part amended California Education Code (EC) sections 8423, 8482.3, and 8483.3. Effective January 1, 2014, afterschool programs referred to in these EC sections have the option to serve a snack, a meal, or both to students in their care.

Afterschool programs may be eligible to participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which provides federal reimbursement to eligible agencies for serving a meal and/or a snack to children. Federally-reimbursable meals served to students in afterschool programs must meet CACFP requirements. For flexibility, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allows School Food Authorities to use either the CACFP or the National School Lunch Program meal pattern. AB 626 clarifies that afterschool meals are not required to comply with the California nutrition standards stated in EC Section 49430. Snacks must continue to meet these California nutrition standards.

Overview of Assembly Bill 626

The goal of AB 626 is to add a meal to the acceptable food options that must be offered to students in afterschool programs. Since 2006, EC sections 8423, 8482.3, and 8483.3 have stated that a healthy snack must be offered to students in the After School Education and Safety Program, the federally-funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, and the 21st Century High School After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens Program. To ensure healthy snacks, they had to comply, at a minimum, with the California nutrition standards identified in EC sections 49430–49431.7.                                                          

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 expanded the At-risk Afterschool Meals component of the CACFP to all states. Afterschool programs now have the option to serve a snack, a meal, or both. Previously, California considered the meal a large snack and required the meal to conform to the California nutrition standards for snacks. AB 626 recognizes that a meal following federal nutrition standards for the CACFP is more nutritious than a snack, and thus does not need to conform to additional nutrition standards. Nutrition standards for the snack have not changed. If an afterschool program serves a snack to students, the snack must continue to meet the California nutrition standards.

Additional Resources

For information about the At-risk Afterschool Program meal pattern and more, you can download the program handbook from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Afterschool Programs web page: https://www.fns.usda.gov/cacfp/afterschool-programs External link opens in new window or tab.

Information about the California nutrition standards for snacks is available on the California Department of Education Snacks and Meal Standards for After School Programs web page: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/as/afterschoolnutstan.asp

The full text of AB 626 can be found on the California Legislative Information web page: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB626 External link opens in new window or tab.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this MB, please contact the California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division by phone at 800-952-5609 or by email at SNPInfo@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, March 13, 2024
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