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By the numbers

We know exactly where the hungry kids are, and we go to them.

Our proprietary Child Nutrition Index has allowed us to isolate populations according to meal program, location, poverty level and Medicaid enrollment.

Based on this data, we calculate participation rates, numbers of missing meals and potential reimbursement. We then convert them to opportunities by collaborating with communities to execute plans for filling site-specific meal gaps on a sustainable basis.

How did we arrive at the 612,229 figure?

We use Medicaid financed to determine how many children are eligible for federal nutrition programs. For 2020 we added an adjustment to try to account for the number of families struggling with economic hardship because of the pandemic.

What we learned during the pandemic is that school nutrition departments went the extra mile to address food insecurity needs in their community at the onset of COVID-19 and found ways to make those efforts sustainable as the pandemic continued.

As the pandemic continued, meal participation increased due to alternative meal distribution methods, more flexibility in administration due to waivers and meal bundling of multi-day meal boxes.

CNI dashboard2021

Child Nutrition Index Sources

Medicaid Financed: CMS-16 Reports. About the C&TC (CMS-416 report) data. Child and Teen Checkups (C&TC) is Minnesota’s Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program. EPSDT is a feral program required in every state to provide quality well-child care for children eligible for Medicaid. The Minnesota Department of Human Services administers the program and submits yearly data reports to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on the CMS-416 Report form. Molly Meyer (MPH, Senior Research Scientist, SSDI Project Director, Minnesota Department of Health), recommended HIP use these tables to determine number of children eligible to receive WIC packs and/or free, and reduced-price meals through the NSLP, SBP, and CACFP programs.

Children Eligible to Receive Free or Reduced-Price Meals. Children enrolled to receive free or reduced price meals are income verified. In the State of Minnesota children in these categories received free meals because the USDA pays for the free meals and the reduced-price meals are paid for by USDA and the gap is covered by the State of Minnesota. These data are obtained from the Minnesota Department of Education Data Center.

Minnesota Department of Education Claim Databases. Through arrangements with our partner, the Minnesota Department of Education, we receive Claim databases. These databases provide us with the meals served and the federal and state reimbursement revenue.

Minnesota Department of Health WIC Databases. Our Minnesota Department of Health partner provides us with WIC participation data.

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