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Child Nutrition Act

About the Act

The Child Nutrition Act authorizes all child nutrition programs — including the School Breakfast Program, the National School Lunch Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Summer Food Service Program — to ensure that low-income children have access to healthy foods.

Students experiencing homelessness are categorically eligible for federal school meal programs without the need to complete the standard household application or qualify based on income. The Act provides the following for homeless, migrant, foster, and runaway children and youth:

  • Automatic eligibility for free school meals

  • Streamlined procedures for documenting eligibility for free school meals

  • Full school year eligibility for free school meals

  • Federal nutrition funds for shelters that serve children and youth up to age 18