One in five U.S. children are eligible to participate in federal income, food, and housing support programs. These programs reduce the prevalence and intensity of poverty, but their combined effects on nutrition and health are not well understood, and participation is not maximized. The proposed research examines the incremental and combined impact of participation in two programs, SNAP and housing assistance, by applying novel quasi-experimental methods to two national datasets. We will conduct interviews with state agency and elected officials to understand challenges and opportunities for states to make access to multiple programs simpler for children and their families.This project has the following specific aims: (1) determine the incremental and combined effects of participation in SNAP and housing assistance on child and parent/caregiver diet quality, metabolic health and adiposity, and mental health; (2) determine the incremental and combined effects of participation in SNAP and housing assistance on household food purchase quality, food security, and financial security; and (3)understand state agency and elected official perspectives on key barriers to streamlining the enrollment and recertification process to make benefit attainment easier for eligible households.
Studying the Impact on Children’s Nutrition and Health of Participation in, and How to Increase Access to, Multiple Safety-Net Programs
This research brief summarizes findings from an exploratory study of a diverse sample of juvenile justice residential facilities in North Carolina conducted by RTI International. The study examined food service operations, agency and facility level policies and practices pertaining to nutrition, participation in federal school nutrition programs, and additional food … More
Farm-to-School Education Grants Reach Low-Income Children and Encourage Them to Learn About Fruits and Vegetables
For children from low-income families, school meals are a significant portion of daily caloric intake and hence an opportunity to address food insecurity. Many states have pursued legislation to institutionalize programs such as farm to school that aim to improve the quality of school meals and acceptance of healthy foods … More
Evaluation of the USDA FINI Program Finds Benefits for Consumers, Farmers and Retailers, and Local Economies
In December 2018, Congress passed a new farm bill which included a reauthorization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program. This brief summarizes the findings of a recent qualitative evaluation of FINI, which concludes that the program has benefits for consumers, farmers and … More