USDA has declared that children placed into the foster care system by a state or court are categorically eligible to receive free meals in all USDA child nutrition programs. According to USDA the expansion of categorical eligibility to foster children is a component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 which President Obama signed into law.
Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon says this is a key step toward winning a healthy future for the next generation of Americans. Concannon points out that categorical eligibility is a vital tool to simplify and expedite enrolling eligible children in school meal programs.
As of Sept. 20, 2009, there were nearly 424,000 children in the United States in foster care. This new provision will help reduce administrative burdens on states, schools and those foster care families by certifying eligible foster children for free meals in the National School Lunch and other Child Nutrition Programs without the need for an application.