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  • Iowa Food Stamp Leavers Survey: Methodology Report

    EFAN-02014-2, July 01, 2002

    The Iowa Food Stamp Leavers survey was conducted to evaluate the status of people who had left the Iowa Food Stamp Program in 1997. This report describes the sample design, location strategies, data collection methodologies, and weighting procedures used in conducting the survey and preparing the data for analysis.

    For the results of the study, see Iowa Food Stamp Leavers Survey: Final Report, E-FAN 02014-1.

  • Re-Engineering the Welfare System-A Study of Administrative Changes to the Food Stamp Program: Final Report

    FANRR-17, July 01, 2002

    All States in a recent study undertook at least one "re-engineering" activity in their Food Stamp Programs (FSPs) as a result of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1966 (PRWORA). In addition, 35 States implemented changes in 3 or more re-engineering categories, while 24 States planned changes for fiscal year (FY) 2000 in 2 or more categories. PRWORA dramatically changed the systems that provide cash assistance and food stamps to low-income Americans. Along with mandatory changes in food stamp eligibility, States were given greater flexibility to administer their programs to meet their unique needs. While States had begun changing the way program services were delivered before passage of welfare reform legislation, PRWORA provided additional opportunities for them to "re-engineer" FSPs. The purpose of the study was to examine State-level administrative changes to FSPs as a result of PRWORA, both those made before FY 2000 and those planned for FY 2000. This report provides the study results.

    For the State data collection instrument, see Re-engineering the Welfare System-A Study of Administrative Changes to the Food Stamp Program: State Data Collection Instrument, E-FAN 01009.

  • Effects of EBT Customer Service Waivers on Food Stamp Recipients: Final Report

    EFAN-02007, June 27, 2002

    Most State agencies are now using electronic benefits transfer (EBT) systems to issue food stamp benefits. To promote operational efficiency, some States have received waivers of certain rules governing EBT use. An exploratory study was conducted to ascertain the effects of these waivers on food stamp recipients. The results show that two of the waivers-those allowing recipients to select their own personal identification numbers and to receive EBT training by mail rather than in person-cause new food stamp recipients in waiver States to have more difficulties in using the electronic system than new recipients in nonwaiver States. Further, the difficulties are more apparent among the elderly or disabled. However, the problems tend to disappear as new users gain EBT experience. A third waiver, extending time for card replacement via mail, showed mixed benefits for recipients, most of whom prefer to pick up the card at a food stamp office. Perhaps the most important conclusion is that the customer service waivers do not affect recipient satisfaction with the EBT system; the high level of satisfaction that they expressed suggests that most problems with the waivers are either transitory or minor.

  • Household Food Security in the United States, 1998 and 1999: Technical Report

    EFAN-02010, June 19, 2002

    This report complements prior reports on measuring household food security in the United States. It explores key technical issues related to Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement data, focusing especially on the August 1998 and April 1999 surveys. These technical issues include the estimation of standard errors using either balanced repeated replication techniques or generalized variance functions (GVFs) developed by the Census Bureau; the effect of alternating survey periods between spring and fall for the 1995-99 CPS Supplement; and the effect of using different Item Response Theory (IRT) modeling approaches and software to create the food security scale. The report also presents 1998 and 1999 item calibrations and household scores developed through the use of IRT modeling.

  • Issues in Food Assistance-The Standard Deduction in the Food Stamp Benefit Formula

    FANRR-26-3, June 03, 2002

    This issue brief explains the role of the standard deduction in the food stamp benefit formula and analyzes options for changing the level of the standard deduction.

  • The Emergency Food Assistance System-Findings From the Provider Survey, Volume I: Executive Summary

    FANRR-16-1, June 03, 2002

    Findings of the first comprehensive government study of the Emergency Food Assistance System (EFAS) suggest that public and private food assistance may work in tandem to provide more comprehensive food assistance than either provides by itself. Five major types of organizations (emergency kitchens, food pantries, food banks, food rescue organizations, and emergency food organizations) operate in the EFAS. About 5,300 emergency kitchens provide more than 173 million meals a year, and 32,700 food pantries distribute about 2.9 billion pounds of food a year (roughly 2,200 million meals). Despite substantial amounts of food distributed by the system, the EFAS remains much smaller in scale than the Federal programs. The study, which was sponsored by USDA's Economic Research Service, provides detailed information about the system's operations and about each of the five types of organizations. This report summarizes the results of the study.

  • Tracing the Impacts of Food Assistance Programs on Agriculture and Consumers: A Computable General Equilibrium Model

    FANRR-18, May 20, 2002

    Changes in food assistance policy can have impacts on economic activity and household income across the economy. Using a Computable General Equilibrium model focusing on food assistance, we found that both a hypothetical cut in food stamp benefits and a hypothetical cash-out of the Food Stamp Program led to reductions in food demand and farm production. In addition, this hypothetical cut in food stamp benefits resulted in a decline in transfer income for low-income households that was not compensated for by increased labor income. The cash-out triggered general equilibrium effects that led to higher taxes and reductions in labor income, chiefly for high-income households. The Food Assistance Computable General Equilibrium model includes modeling innovations that make it particularly useful for investigating the potential economic impact of changes in food assistance policy. These innovations include allowing household consumption patterns to vary by income and food stamp benefits, letting labor supply and demand vary by skill level and occupation, and using considerable industry detail for key agricultural and food processing sectors.

  • Effects of CACFP Reimbursement Tiering: Major Findings of the Family Child Care Homes Legislative Changes Study

    FANRR-24, May 15, 2002

    The introduction of tiered meal reimbursement rates in the family child care homes portion of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) concentrated benefits more intensely on low-income children, as intended. Tiering added to sponsoring organizations' administrative duties, reduced the number of participating family child care homes, but did not alter the number or nutritional quality of meals offered by providers receiving the lower reimbursement rates.

  • Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor: Demographics of Low-Income Households

    TB-1898, April 19, 2002

    The economic well-being of the U.S. population with incomes below 130 percent of the official poverty guideline is of special interest to policymakers and food assistance program administrators. For example, the Food Stamp Program uses gross income below this level as one of several criteria for determining eligibility for program benefits. This study employs alternative welfare measures, including the Sen index, to assess the economic status of the food stamp-eligible population and to track changes in welfare status over time. In general, welfare measures of households with income no greater than 130 percent of the poverty line improved slightly between 1981 and 1995. The study also assesses which demographic characteristics that describe low-income households have the largest impact on the welfare measures. This demographic analysis is useful for identifying household types that could merit special attention in designing strategies such as job training or food stamp education and outreach.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Small Grants Program: Executive Summaries of 2000 Research Grants

    FANRR-20, April 18, 2002

    This report summarizes research findings from the Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Small Grants Program. The Economic Research Service created the program in 1998 to stimulate new and innovative research on food assistance and nutrition issues and to broaden the participation of social science scholars in these issues. The report includes summaries of the second set of small grants, awarded for 1-year research projects in the summer and fall of 1999, which focus on food security, hunger, and public- and private-sector efforts to aid low-income residents of the United States through food and nutrition assistance.

  • Effects of EBT Customer Service Waivers on Food Stamp Recipients: Executive Summary

    FANRR-23, April 15, 2002

    Most State agencies are now using electronic benefits transfer (EBT) systems to issue food stamp benefits. To promote operational efficiency, some States have received waivers of certain rules governing EBT use. An exploratory study was conducted to ascertain the effects of these waivers on food stamp recipients. The results show that two of the waivers-those allowing recipients to select their own personal identification numbers and to receive EBT training by mail rather than in person-cause new food stamp recipients in waiver States to have more difficulties in using the electronic system than new recipients in nonwaiver States. Further, the difficulties are more apparent among the elderly or disabled. However, the problems tend to disappear as new users gain EBT experience. A third waiver, extending time for card replacement via mail, showed mixed benefits for recipients, most of whom prefer to pick up the card at a food stamp office. Perhaps the most important conclusion is that the customer service waivers do not affect recipient satisfaction with the EBT system; the high level of satisfaction that they expressed suggests that most problems with the waivers are either transitory or minor.

  • Households with Children in CACFP Child Care Homes - Effects of Meal Reimbursement Tiering: A Report to Congress on the Family Child Care Homes Legislative Changes Study

    EFAN-02005, April 01, 2002

    Within the family child care home portion of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), low-income children increased from 21 to 39 percent of all participating children between 1995 and 1999. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act of 1996 mandated a tiered reimbursement structure for CACFP child care homes--designed to target benefits more narrowly to low-income children--and called for a study of its effects on program participants and on meals offered to children. The study finds that the proportion of dollars allocated to low-income children's meals more than doubled, from 21 percent to 45 percent.

  • Meals Offered by Tier 2 CACFP Family Child Care Providers - Effects of Lower Meal Reimbursements: A Report to Congress on the Family Child Care Homes Legislative Changes Study

    EFAN-02006, April 01, 2002

    The introduction of tiered reimbursement rates in 1997 did not substantially affect the food and nutrient composition of meals offered by Tier 2 providers in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 mandated a tiered reimbursement structure designed to target benefits more narrowly to low-income children and called for a study of its effects on program participation and child nutrition. PRWORA reduced reimbursement rates for Tier 2 providers (providers who are not low-income themselves and do not live in low-income areas). According to our 1999 study, Tier 2 providers neither cut back on meals and snacks served nor offered less nutritious foods, despite initial concerns about how Tier 2 providers would react to the reduced rates. Tier 2 meals have not compromised the overall goal of the CACFP meal component requirements: to provide a mix of foods that make an important contribution to a child's major nutritional needs.

  • Family Child Care Providers in the CACFP - Operational Effects of Reimbursement Tiering: A Report to Congress on the Family Child Care Homes Legislative Changes Study

    EFAN-02004, April 01, 2002

    Family child care providers who participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) receive reimbursement for qualifying meals served to children in their care. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 mandated a two-tiered reimbursement structure designed to target benefits more narrowly to low-income children and called for a study of its effects on program participants and on meals offered to children. Participating providers who receive the lower Tier 2 reimbursements tend to charge higher hourly fees and spend somewhat less on food, according to analyses controlling for provider's location and operating characteristics. The pattern of meals and snacks that providers offered was not altered by tiering, however.

  • Issues in Food Assistance-Program Targeting: Effects of Meal Reimbursement Tiering on the Child and Adult Care Food Program

    FANRR-26-1, April 01, 2002

    A 1995 study of the family child care homes portion of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) found that nearly 80 percent of children served came from middle and higher income families. To refocus the program on low-income children, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act of 1996 mandated an income-targeted meal reimbursement structure and called for a study of its effects. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) contracted with Abt Associates Inc., for a study of the effects of tiered meal reimbursement on the family child care homes portion of the CACFP. A key study finding was that the family child care homes component of the CACFP became substantially more focused on low-income children after tiering was introduced.

  • Sponsoring Organizations in the CACFP - Administrative Effects of Reimbursement Tiering: A Report to Congress on the Family Child Care Homes Legislative Changes Study

    EFAN-02003, April 01, 2002

    Sponsors of family child care homes in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) took on additional responsibilities as a result of the tiered reimbursement structure introduced in 1997. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 mandated a tiered reimbursement structure designed to target benefits more narrowly to low-income children and called for a study of its effects on program participants and on meals offered to children. Tiering has created a requirement for sponsors to classify family child care homes (providers) and some participating children according to income status. Sponsors surveyed in 1999 also reported that they had increased training and monitoring, expanded services to providers, and heightened recruitment efforts.

  • Plate Waste in School Nutrition Programs: Final Report to Congress

    EFAN-02009, March 14, 2002

    This report examines the level of plate waste in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and information on strategies to reduce it. Strategies examined include using the offer vs. serve provision for meal service, rescheduling lunch hours, improving the quality of food, tailoring serving sizes to student appetites, and providing nutrition education.

  • Family Child Care Home Participation in the CACFP - Effects of Reimbursement Tiering: A Report to Congress on the Family Child Care Homes Legislative Changes Study

    EFAN-02002, March 13, 2002

    The introduction of tiered reimbursement rates in 1997 reduced the number of family child care homes participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) in 1998 and 1999. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 mandated a tiered reimbursement structure designed to target benefits more narrowly to low-income children and called for a study of its effects on program participation and on meals offered to children. This report presents analyses focusing on how the revised reimbursement structure affected the number of family child care homes participating in the CACFP. By reducing participation incentives for child care homes that were not considered to be low-income ('Tier 2' homes), tiering reduced the total number of participating CACFP homes. Tiering had little or no discernible effect on the number of children participating in the program, the number of CACFP sponsors, or the nationwide number of licensed providers of child care.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, Fiscal 2002, Competitive Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program: Description and Application Process

    AP-010, March 08, 2002

    ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program accepted proposals for grants and cooperative agreements for fiscal 2002. The five priority research areas were (1) Program Design and Operations, (2) Food Assistance as a Safety Net, (3) Obesity, (4) Eating Patterns, Diet Quality, and Health Outcomes, and (5) Behavioral Nutrition. This publication describes the research areas and application requirements. Funding for competitive awards in fiscal 2002 was approximately $2 million. The deadline for proposal submission was May 17, 2002.

  • Household Food Security in the United States, 2000

    FANRR-21, March 01, 2002

    The latest in a series of annual statistical reports on the prevalence of food security, food insecurity, and hunger in U.S. households, based on the September 2000 Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement. This year's report, in addition to statistics on food security, includes information on how much U.S. households spent on food and the extent to which food-insecure households participated in Federal and community food assistance programs.