Are WIC and School Meal Programs Effectively Reaching Those in Need? Trends in Children’s Early and Continuous Use of Federal Nutritional Policy

Margot Jackson, Brown University

For the 23% of U.S. children who live in food insecure households, nutritional policy provides an essential safety net against hunger and its negative effects on children’s development. Though we know that more mothers and children have enrolled in federal nutritional programs in the last five years, it is unclear whether this increase has been experienced equally by children of all ages, and by mothers in all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Using longitudinal data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), this research will examine whether children's exposure to nutritional policy has remained steady or increased as families' economic need has increased during the Great Recession that officially began in December of 2007. Three programs form the basis of my investigation: the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the National School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

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Presented in Session 116: Policy, Children and Families