Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (D-CT) has introduced H.R.8844, the Caregivers, Access, and Responsible Expansion for Kids Act of 2024 (CARE for Kids Act). The bill expands access to free and reduced-price meals to support millions of children being raised by grandparents and other relatives. This bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) and Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC).

The CARE for Kids Act of 2024 builds on existing school meal eligibility for foster care by ensuring that local education agencies (LEAs), including the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools, have the option to provide automatic eligibility and certification to the following children:

  • Children cared for by a relative who receives adoption or guardianship assistance
  • Children cared for by grandparents or other relatives due to placement by a State or Tribal child welfare agency
  • Children living in “grandfamily” housing or receiving housing assistance under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996
  • Children automatically eligible for free meals through Medicaid participation, but are not able to be certified
  • Extends eligibility for children already receiving reduced or free meals placed under the care of a grandparent or other relative

SNA will monitor the progress of H.R.8844. In the meantime, SNA members can access SNA’s federal bill tracker to view additional key school nutrition bills, sponsors and SNA endorsement status.

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