The Summer Feeding Program for Children:

Reforms Begun--Many More Urgently Needed

CED-78-90: Published: Mar 31, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 1978.

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The summer food service program for children is one of several child feeding programs created to safeguard the health of the Nation's children. It is an extension of the school feeding programs and is designed to feed, during the summer vacation, children from poor economic areas. Almost since its inception in 1971, the summer feeding program has had problems adversely affecting program operations and goals.

Although abuses noted in the 1977 program were less flagrant and serious, the following problems remain: insufficient quantities of food in the meals served, poor food quality, and inadequate food storage facilities. Factors contributing to program abuses were: the inflexible legislative limits on the amount of federal funds for state administration, staffing shortages resulting from factors other than limits on state administrative costs, inadequate efforts to identify areas eligible for the program, inconsistent evaluations in approving sponsors and sites, insufficient state program monitoring, and inadequate state efforts to determine amounts of advance payments to sponsors. Department of Agriculture attention needs to be directed to: determining areas' eligibility for program benefits, clustered and overlapping feeding sites, keeping sponsors with poor previous performances out of the program, visiting proposed feeding sites before they are approved, monitoring program feeding operations, and taking action against sponsors and sites violating program regulations.

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