Abstract: This study used administrative records for 50,067 applications and 34,914 benefit spells in South Carolina for the period October 1996-November 2007 to examine households’ applications to and participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We modeled application resolutions where the possible outcomes were acceptance, denial due to income ineligibility, denial due to a failure to provide sufficient information, and denial for other reasons. For cases with successful applications, we modeled the durations of participation spells to distinguish among exits that result from missed recertifications, financial ineligibility, incomplete or missing information, and other reasons. The results indicate that a household’s application and participation history affect its subsequent application success and program tenure. Applicants with recent SNAP program experience are more likely to have their applications accepted than other applicants. Among the applicants with recent program experience, the way in which a previous spell ends helps to predict how their next application will be resolved and how their next participation spell will end. Households face an increased risk of having a SNAP participation spell end for financial ineligibility if an earlier participation spell ended for that reason. Similarly, households face an increased risk of having their applications denied or participation spells end for information deficiencies if an earlier spell ended that way.
Abstract: In 2007-08, the Guilford County Schools (GCS) in North Carolina offered universal-free breakfasts in their School Breakfast Programs (SBPs) in 26 schools. In 2008-09, the GCS changed to eligibility-based SBPs at several schools, while adding a universal-free SBP at one school. This study qualitatively examined the SBP changes. We observed cafeteria operations, conducted focus groups, and collected program records at the four GCS elementary schools with and at six comparison schools without SBP changes. The schools operated comparable beforeschool cafeteria programs. Parents in focus groups reported high levels of food needs and valued breakfasts generally and the SBP in particular. Parents from a school that lost a universal-free SBP expressed more negative views, while parents from the school that gained a universal-free SBP spoke more positively. SBP participation fell at the schools that lost universal-free SBPs and grew at the school that gained a universal-free SBP.
Abstract: The Guilford County Schools (GCS) in North Carolina offered universal-free breakfasts under the School Breakfast Program (SBP) in 2007-08 in elementary schools with high proportions of economically disadvantaged students. In 2008-09, the GCS reduced its universal-free programs, with the affected schools returning to eligibility-based programs. We investigate student outcomes that were associated with those changes, examining how breakfast and lunch participation, attendance, and standardized reading, math, and science test scores changed across years at affected and unaffected schools. We find that the switch from a universal-free to an eligibility-based SBP reduced breakfast participation substantially, with the largest changes occurring among students who were not eligible for free- or reduced-price meals. The changes in SBPs were associated with changes in lunch participation for paid-eligible students but not for other students. The changes in SBPs did not harm test scores but were associated with improved attendance.
Abstract: Nest-leaving—the transition of young adults from their parents’ homes to other living arrangements—is a major life-course milestone. Although the causes of nest-leaving have been extensively researched, only a few studies have examined the changes in young adults’ own assessments of their well-being that immediately precede and follow these transitions. This study uses the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey to document the trajectories of financial hardships, food consumption, and other well-being outcomes among Australians who left their parents’ homes between the ages of 18 and 25 years. The study estimates multivariate fixed-effects models that compare outcomes before and after nest-leaving transitions to mitigate the effects of confounding characteristics. Men and women report increased financial hardships in the years that they leave home and in the first few years that follow. In particular, men and women both report more frequently going without meals and needing to ask friends and family for financial help. Women additionally report more frequently missing utility and housing payments.
Abstract: Despite more than $100 billion in federal food assistance expenditures in fiscal year 2011, 8.6 million American children lived in households with food insecurity among children, and 845,000 lived in households with very low food security among children. Has federal food assistance reached the limits of its effectiveness or is there more that can be done? This report reviews the research on public policy responses to child food hardships and hunger. It undertakes a conceptual analysis of how food hardships for children might arise and how assistance programs are intended to help. It also describes the major U.S. food assistance programs that benefit children and how these programs operate. The report summarizes research findings and discusses programmatic and research challenges. The report concludes with recommendations for improving both research and policies.