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Congress works to address summer and school meal challenges before end of month deadline

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Congress works to address summer and school meal challenges before end of month deadline

Update (6/24): After the Senate passed an amended version of the Keep Kids Fed Act (removing the provision that would have allowed reduced price meals to be free next school year), on June 24 the House followed the Senate and passed the bipartisan Keep Kids Fed Act sending it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Since March 2020, community-based afterschool and summer program providers as well as school nutrition programs have provided nutritious meals to students through Summer Food Program and CACFP (Child and Adult Care Food Program) Afterschool Meal flexibility waivers authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under authority granted by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Those waivers are set to expire June 30th of this year, even though ongoing staffing, food cost, and supply chain challenges have continued to make traditional meal service exceedingly difficult for many programs and schools. The pending waiver deadline has prompted extensive work over the past six months by advocates and Congressional champions to advocate for an extension to the waivers.

This week it appears the advocacy has paid off as there is hope that a solution to the immediate waiver deadline is at hand. On June 21, Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senate Agriculture Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR), House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and House Education and Labor Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) released the bipartisan, bicameral Keep Kids Fed Act (H.R. 8150) which extends the summer meals waiver as well as providing needed funding and flexibility for the coming school year. The bill is on a fast track with a House floor vote possible today as Congress scrambles to finish critical bills before a planned recess. 

The Keep Kids Fed Act is an important first step that would increase reimbursements to schools, afterschool programs providers, and child care centers; support access to summer meals; allow children who are eligible to receive reduced-price school meals to receive free school meals; and streamline access to healthy meals for children in family child care. The bill makes $3 billion available and includes the following provisions:

Provisions in The Keep Kids Fed Act

  • Extends USDA’s authority to issue Summer Nutrition waivers through September 30, 2022; and non-cost nationwide waivers through school year 2022-2023.  
  • Increases the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Reimbursements by 10 cents for each meal and snack for afterschool programs and child care providers.  This will help to stem participation declines, support good nutrition, and provide relief for struggling program providers to cope with supply chain and cost issues. These enhanced reimbursements will make it more affordable to provide the healthy foods required by CACFP.
  • Extends the Area Eligibility waiver allowing family child care homes to receive the higher Tier 1 reimbursements through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Streamlines access to healthy meals for children in family child care homes by extending the area eligibility test waiver.  This year, one of the most pressing problems is that schools do not have the income data needed to establish area eligibility.  In addition, this test is not an effective mechanism. It misses many providers serving low-income children, especially in rural and suburban areas.  
  • Increases the school breakfast reimbursement by 10 cents and the school lunch reimbursement by 40 cents. 
  • Allows children eligible for reduced-price school meals to receive free school meals. 

During the past two and a half years as COVID-19 impacted schools and work, afterschool and summer learning programs stepped up by helping to provide meals to children and families in need. Last spring 57 percent of programs were providing meals to families at sites or through delivery; and last summer 65 percent of programs provided on-site snack or meals to students, according to the Afterschool Alliance program provider tracking survey. The Keep Kids Fed Act will allow programs to continue to provide the meals students need, however Congress must pass this legislation quickly to support access to summer meals and child care this summer.

Now is the time to weigh-in with your Congressional Delegation. Call your Senators, then call your House Member and urge them to “Vote Yes” on The Keep Kids Fed Act, a bill that will begin to provide much-needed relief to providers and families across the country. To easily connect with your Congressional delegation, call the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Recapping impressive OST work in summer 2021—and looking ahead to summer 2022

As the winter air blows in, it’s the perfect time to warm up with thoughts of summer. In fact, many school districts and afterschool programs know that planning for summer begins in the fall. Fortunately, the hard work programs, partners, and schools undertook during summer 2021 provided...

BY: Jillian Luchner      12/07/21

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/11/21

49 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico submitted ARP state plans, 37 approved (Part 4)

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BY: Erik Peterson      08/13/21

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An advantage of a country made of states, territories, and tribal lands is the amount of innovation across boundaries that can help us learn from one another. This blog is the second in a series on the state American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER)...

BY: Jillian Luchner      07/16/21

State ARP plans: Supporting afterschool and summer enrichment (Part 1)

It has been more than one month since state education agencies were asked to submit their proposed state plans for the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Funds to the US Department of Education. To date, the Department has posted state...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/09/21

House of Representatives passes Build Back Better Act

On Friday, November 19, 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act by a vote of 220-213. The legislation invests in programs that support human infrastructure and includes parts...

BY: Erik Peterson      11/22/21

State child care stabilization grants open with many afterschool programs eligible

As the afterschool field continues to navigate the American Rescue Plan (ARP) opportunities for K-12 funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) at the state and local level, ARP also designated $24 billion in child care funding to states to help stabilize the...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/18/21

ARP ESSER state plans are in! More funds are hitting the ground at the state and local level

With the 2021-2022 school year in full-swing, the federal American Rescue Plan relief funds are making important impacts in states and communities. At this point, all 50 states have submitted their Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) plans. The Department of Education is...

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Historically the month of August is a slow one in Washington, D.C., with Congress taking off for a summer break. While the House and Senate are now in a recess for a several weeks, that break did not come before a frenzy of legislative work that is worthy of a recap. In late July, before...

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U.S. House Subcommittee proposes $100 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

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This week the House of Representatives finished work at the Committee level on the Build Back Better Act legislation that invests in programs that support human infrastructure and includes parts of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. The bill is progressing on...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/17/21

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Historically the month of August is a slow one in Washington, D.C., with Congress taking off for a summer break. While the House and Senate are now in a recess for a several weeks, that break did not come before a frenzy of legislative work that is worthy of a recap. In late July, before...

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U.S. House Subcommittee proposes $100 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/12/21

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BY: Erik Peterson      06/01/21

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Bipartisan, bicameral Youth Workforce Readiness Act of 2021 introduced

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Senate Democrats LHHS bill proposes $50 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

This week Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released the nine remaining fiscal year FY 2022 appropriations bills that the Senate has not yet addressed, including the FY 2022 Labor-HHS-Education bill.  The bills are partisan in nature, and the Committee is unlikely...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/21/21

Appropriations, budget resolutions, and infrastructure—oh my!

Historically the month of August is a slow one in Washington, D.C., with Congress taking off for a summer break. While the House and Senate are now in a recess for a several weeks, that break did not come before a frenzy of legislative work that is worthy of a recap. In late July, before...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/16/21

ARP Webinar Series Recap: How to access ARP funds for afterschool and summer

The Afterschool Alliance hosted a webinar series to help programs understand how billions of dollars provided by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) can be used to support afterschool and summer programs. While funds go directly to education and child care agencies, programs are specifically mentioned...

BY: Maria Rizo      07/26/21

Virtual Hill Briefing recap: Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success

On July 20, the House Afterschool Caucus in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance hosted a Capitol Hill Briefing Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success for congressional staff and afterschool stakeholders. With a proven track record for increasing resilience, supporting positive...

BY: Maria Rizo      07/22/21

U.S. House Subcommittee proposes $100 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

This week the House of Representatives continues the FY 2022 appropriations process with multiple subcommittee mark-ups. On July 12 the House of Representatives’ Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS-ED) and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up its FY 2022...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/12/21

American Rescue Plan ESSER III afterschool and summer implementation update: States efforts, new tools, and more

Since President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law on March 11, 2021, state education agencies (SEAs) have been working to maximize the impact of the $122 billion in federal education funds to support students impacted by the pandemic.  While SEAs have until June 7, 2021, to...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/01/21

Biden administration releases full FY 2022 budget proposal, increases afterschool funding

On May 28, the Biden administration released its full FY 2022 discretionary budget request, about six weeks after releasing an initial budget blueprint. With regard to education, the proposal includes $1.31 billion for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, an increase of $52...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/28/21

Bipartisan, bicameral Youth Workforce Readiness Act of 2021 introduced

Last week, the bipartisan, bicameral Youth Workforce Readiness Act of 2021 was introduced in an effort to ensure every young person in America has the skills needed to graduate from high school and be well-prepared for success in education, career and life. The legislation would provide funding for...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/24/21

The Biden administration’s American Family Plan – what it means for afterschool

In late April, President Joe Biden released the American Families Plan, the second part of an overall infrastructure proposal and a complementary piece to the American Jobs Plan. Congress is now holding bipartisan conversations to identify infrastructure priorities. The American Families...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/07/21

Bipartisan CORPS Act re-introduced in Senate

Last week, a bi-partisan group of senators, led by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced legislation to strengthen national service opportunities, particularly in responding to COVID-19. The Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/23/21

Senate Democrats LHHS bill proposes $50 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

This week Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released the nine remaining fiscal year FY 2022 appropriations bills that the Senate has not yet addressed, including the FY 2022 Labor-HHS-Education bill.  The bills are partisan in nature, and the Committee is unlikely...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/21/21

Appropriations, budget resolutions, and infrastructure—oh my!

Historically the month of August is a slow one in Washington, D.C., with Congress taking off for a summer break. While the House and Senate are now in a recess for a several weeks, that break did not come before a frenzy of legislative work that is worthy of a recap. In late July, before...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/16/21

U.S. House Subcommittee proposes $100 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

This week the House of Representatives continues the FY 2022 appropriations process with multiple subcommittee mark-ups. On July 12 the House of Representatives’ Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS-ED) and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up its FY 2022...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/12/21

Biden administration releases full FY 2022 budget proposal, increases afterschool funding

On May 28, the Biden administration released its full FY 2022 discretionary budget request, about six weeks after releasing an initial budget blueprint. With regard to education, the proposal includes $1.31 billion for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, an increase of $52...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/28/21

President Biden offers FY 2022 budget proposal

On April 9, the Biden administration released their preliminary (or “skinny”) FY 2022 discretionary budget request which includes topline appropriations levels for each agency as well as key spending priorities. With regard to education, the proposal includes historic funding requests...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/13/21

Biden administration proposes infrastructure plan including funds for schools, child care

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BY: Erik Peterson      04/12/21

American Rescue Plan passes Senate, contains billions in support for afterschool and summer learning

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/06/21

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/22/20

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/16/20

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/12/20

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As the winter air blows in, it’s the perfect time to warm up with thoughts of summer. In fact, many school districts and afterschool programs know that planning for summer begins in the fall. Fortunately, the hard work programs, partners, and schools undertook during summer 2021 provided...

BY: Jillian Luchner      12/07/21

State child care stabilization grants open with many afterschool programs eligible

As the afterschool field continues to navigate the American Rescue Plan (ARP) opportunities for K-12 funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) at the state and local level, ARP also designated $24 billion in child care funding to states to help stabilize the...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/18/21

ARP ESSER state plans are in! More funds are hitting the ground at the state and local level

With the 2021-2022 school year in full-swing, the federal American Rescue Plan relief funds are making important impacts in states and communities. At this point, all 50 states have submitted their Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) plans. The Department of Education is...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/11/21

49 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico submitted ARP state plans, 37 approved (Part 4)

As summer officially turned to fall this month, almost all states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, have now submitted their proposed state plans for the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Funds to the US Department of Education, and...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/01/21

New learning loss recovery guidance and survey data suggest strong role for afterschool

Last week, as students across the country continued to return to in-person learning, new survey data released from AASA – The School Superintendents Association, as well as additional guidance on learning loss recovery from the US Department of Education, suggests there is more work to be...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/09/21

Virtual Hill Briefing recap: Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success

On July 20, the House Afterschool Caucus in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance hosted a Capitol Hill Briefing Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success for congressional staff and afterschool stakeholders. With a proven track record for increasing resilience, supporting positive...

BY: Maria Rizo      07/22/21

Approaches to supporting afterschool and summer in state plans for education relief spending (Part 2)

An advantage of a country made of states, territories, and tribal lands is the amount of innovation across boundaries that can help us learn from one another. This blog is the second in a series on the state American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER)...

BY: Jillian Luchner      07/16/21

State ARP plans: Supporting afterschool and summer enrichment (Part 1)

It has been more than one month since state education agencies were asked to submit their proposed state plans for the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Funds to the US Department of Education. To date, the Department has posted state...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/09/21

Draft Child Care Plans for 2022-24 boast strong examples of school-age policy

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BY: Jillian Luchner      07/01/21

Child Care Stabilization Grant Program guidance offers many school-age opportunities

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BY: Jillian Luchner      05/27/21

House of Representatives passes Build Back Better Act

On Friday, November 19, 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act by a vote of 220-213. The legislation invests in programs that support human infrastructure and includes parts...

BY: Erik Peterson      11/22/21

State child care stabilization grants open with many afterschool programs eligible

As the afterschool field continues to navigate the American Rescue Plan (ARP) opportunities for K-12 funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) at the state and local level, ARP also designated $24 billion in child care funding to states to help stabilize the...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/18/21

Senate Democrats LHHS bill proposes $50 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

This week Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released the nine remaining fiscal year FY 2022 appropriations bills that the Senate has not yet addressed, including the FY 2022 Labor-HHS-Education bill.  The bills are partisan in nature, and the Committee is unlikely...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/21/21

ARP Webinar Series Recap: How to access ARP funds for afterschool and summer

The Afterschool Alliance hosted a webinar series to help programs understand how billions of dollars provided by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) can be used to support afterschool and summer programs. While funds go directly to education and child care agencies, programs are specifically mentioned...

BY: Maria Rizo      07/26/21

Approaches to supporting afterschool and summer in state plans for education relief spending (Part 2)

An advantage of a country made of states, territories, and tribal lands is the amount of innovation across boundaries that can help us learn from one another. This blog is the second in a series on the state American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER)...

BY: Jillian Luchner      07/16/21

Guidance on $15 billion in Supplemental Child Care Funding released, including opportunities to increase staff wages

On June 11, the Office of Child Care (OCC) released the long-awaited guidance for the $15 billion of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act CCDF Discretionary Supplemental funds. The guidance comes about one month after earlier guidance on the ARP’s $24 billion Stabilization Grant Funds. States...

BY: Jillian Luchner      06/25/21

Biden administration releases full FY 2022 budget proposal, increases afterschool funding

On May 28, the Biden administration released its full FY 2022 discretionary budget request, about six weeks after releasing an initial budget blueprint. With regard to education, the proposal includes $1.31 billion for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, an increase of $52...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/28/21

The Biden administration’s American Family Plan – what it means for afterschool

In late April, President Joe Biden released the American Families Plan, the second part of an overall infrastructure proposal and a complementary piece to the American Jobs Plan. Congress is now holding bipartisan conversations to identify infrastructure priorities. The American Families...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/07/21

Department of Education releases plan template for American Rescue Plan education funds

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released the State plan application that will support states in describing how they will use resources under the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III (ARP ESSER III) fund to continue to support students...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/28/21

Bipartisan CORPS Act re-introduced in Senate

Last week, a bi-partisan group of senators, led by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced legislation to strengthen national service opportunities, particularly in responding to COVID-19. The Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/23/21