Policy Memo 122

DOH-CACFP: Number 122 (07/08) [Supersedes Number 90 (02/04)]

TO: All CACFP Participating Organizations of Day Care Centers with Head Start Programs

FROM: Jeanne Culver, State Director, Child and Adult Care Food Program

SUBJECT: Eligibility Criteria for Free Meal Benefits for Head Start Programs

I. Purpose and Scope

  1. All children enrolled in Head Start Programs, including those children whose families do not meet Head Start's low-income criteria and those who participate in a state-funded Head Start Program, are automatically eligible for free meal benefits under CACFP. Their families do not need to complete an Application for Free and Reduced Price Meals (DOH-3688) to document their eligibility for free meals.
  2. All reimbursable meals served to children enrolled in a Head Start Program may be claimed at the free rate, starting with the June 2008 claim.

I. Background Information

  1. Head Start primarily serves children from families living at or below the Federal poverty level, although a small proportion of children in families with income levels above the poverty level may be served. Until now, only those children who were income eligible for Head Start were automatically eligible for free meals in CACFP.
  2. Amendments to The Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-134), signed into law on December 12, 2007, makes any child enrolled in Head Start automatically eligible for free meals without further application eligibility determination.
  3. All reimbursable meals served to Head Start children on December 12, 2007 and beyond may be claimed at the free rate.
  4. Beginning on June 1, 2008, all CACFP participating organizations with Head Start Programs should claim all Head Start meals at the free rate.
  5. The procedure for submitting revised claims for the period December 12, 2007 through May 31, 2008 is covered in CACFP 2008-06 (07/08).

III. Summary of Changes

Amendments to the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act extend automatic eligibility for free meal benefits to all children enrolled in Head Start, effective December 12, 2007.