Disclosure of Children's Free and Reduced Price Meals and Free Milk Eligibility Information in the Child Nutrition Programs
This final rule establishes requirements for the disclosure of children's free and reduced price meals or free milk eligibility information under the Child Nutrition Programs. The Child Nutrition Programs include the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program, Summer Food Service Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program. Within certain limitations, children's free and reduced price meal or free milk eligibility information may be disclosed, without parental/guardian consent, to persons directly connected to certain education programs, health programs, means-tested nutrition programs, the Comptroller General of the United States, and some law enforcement officials. Additionally, officials also may disclose children's free and reduced price meal or free milk eligibility information to persons directly connected with State Medicaid (Medicaid) and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) when parents/guardians do not decline to have their information disclosed. These regulations affect State agencies and local program operators that administer the Child Nutrition Programs and households which apply for and/or are approved for free and reduced price meals or free milk. The final rule reflects the disclosure provisions of the Healthy Meals for Healthy Americans Act of 1994 and comments received on the proposed rule published in anticipation of implementing those provisions. Additionally, this final rule includes the regulatory disclosure provisions implementing the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 and comments received on the interim rule issued to implement those provisions. This final rule also implements nondiscretionary provisions of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, allowing certain third party contractors access to children's eligibility status and will allow school officials to communicate with Medicaid and SCHIP officials to verify that children are eligible for free and reduced price school meals or free milk. The disclosure provisions are intended to reduce paperwork for administrators of certain programs that target low-income households and for low-income households which may benefit from those programs by allowing some sharing of household's free and reduced price meal eligibility information. This rule also includes several technical amendments.