Monday, June 14, 2010

Child Nutrition Act of 2010 Falls SHORT

Having read just the synopsis of the new Child Nutrition Act of 2010 so far, I find it seriously lacking and it is completely infuriating.

Improve Access to School Meal Programs
* Increase the number of eligible children enrolled in the school lunch programs by using Medicaid/SCHIP data to directly certify children who meet income requirements without requiring individual applications and requiring states to establish and execute a plan to increase rates of direct certification.
* Provide enhanced universal meal access for eligible children in high poverty communities by eliminating paper applications and using census data to determine school wide income eligibility. (the census is every ten years so if a school become a title I school next year they are screwed for the next 9 years?)
* Increase children’s access to healthy school breakfasts by providing competitive grants to school districts to start up or improve their program.

Improve Access to Out of School Meal Programs

* Ensure fewer children go hungry year round by providing meals for over 225,000 children through seamless meal service for children in school based and community based summer and after-school programs, and in low income rural areas.
* Improve access for children in home-based child care by reducing administrative costs for sponsors of child care meal programs.

Help Schools and Child Care Improve the Quality of Meals

* Assist schools in meeting meal requirements proposed by the Institute of Medicine by increasing the reimbursement rate for lunch by 6 cents per meal -- the first real increase in over 30 years. (does this account for inflation? IS this what our children are worth nowadays?)
* Enhance funding for nutrition education in schools to support healthy eating and school wellness.(enhance it how exactly? Put the money into the food!)
* Promote stronger collaboration and sharing of nutrition education between child care programs and WIC programs.

Encourage Public/Partnerships in Communities

* Connect more children to healthy produce from local farms by helping communities establish local farm to school networks, establish school gardens and use more local foods in school cafeterias.
* Leverage public and private partnerships to help reduce childhood hunger and promote community-wide strategies to improve child nutrition and wellness.

Improve Food Safety Requirements for School Meals Programs

* Ensure school meals are safe for all students by extending food safety requirements to all areas in which school food is stored, prepared, and served.(so now more schools won't be wanting to "cook" their foods, more processed foods will become available, YAY!)
* Support improved communication to speed notification of recalled school foods consistent with GAO recommendations.
* Ensures all foodservice employees have access to food safety training to prevent and identify food borne illness such as through web-based training.
(What about requiring that all schools post a full ingredient list to each item served on the menu... we should call this the Tara amendment.)

Streamline Program Administration and Support Program Integrity

* Increase efficiency, improve program administration, support services and program access and modernize the WIC program by extending period of certification for children, increasing support for breastfeeding, and transitioning from paper food vouchers to an electronic benefit program.
* Strengthen School Meal program integrity and remove program silos in after school meal programs by simplifying program rules and affording schools greater flexibility for addressing program costs.

Of course I added a couple little snippets in there but these are just my first reaction to the whole thing. I am still processing it and I am sure there will be more...

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