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Archived Homeless List Serve Messages

Subject:  Homeless Webinars— National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)

ListServe Message Date:  August 9, 2011

USDA Issues Interim Rule on Free Meals for Homeless Children and Youth – Feedback Needed

BACKGROUND: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published an interim rule that updates regulations on the certification of homeless, migrant, and runaway children for free school meals. The rule addresses changes required by both the 2004 and 2010 reauthorizations of the child nutrition laws, including formalizing  policies that previously have been implemented by FNS guidance memoranda.  The policies specify what documentation is necessary to certify free school meals for homeless, runaway, and migrant children,  who are categorically eligible to receive free school meals under federal child nutrition laws.

Although the interim rule went into effect on June 24, 2011, it is not yet a final rule. There is an open comment period through October 24, 2011.

ANALYSIS: While the interim rule does a good job of articulating the policies that promote the timely enrollment of homeless children for free school meals, there are two issues of concern that need to be addressed: 1) the documentation that is required of liaisons; and 2) the certification timing.

ACTION NEEDED: We need your help to understand what policies will work best for homeless children and youth and the professionals who serve them. Please review the background information on the USDA rules and policies, which are located on our web site at

Once you have reviewed this information, please complete the two-question web survey. If you prefer, you may download a Microsoft Word document with the background information from our web site at, then return to the webpage to complete the two-question web survey.

The deadline for completing this survey is September 1, 2011. Based on survey feedback, we will finalize suggested language for comments and will circulate this language widely in order to generate as many comments as possible to advocate for the changes that would best address the needs of homeless children, their families, and the staff that support vital school services.

Thank you very much for your time and assistance! For more information, please contact Barbara Duffield at or 202.364.7392.

Donna Cash
Supervisor, Federal Compliance
Coordinator, McKinney-Vento Program
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
P.O. Box 480, 205 Jefferson Street
Jefferson City, MO  65102-0480
Office:  573-522-8763  Fax:  573-526-6698

Missouri public schools:  the best choice...the best results!