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What integrity challenges arise in the SFSP?

Conducting the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Integrity Study

Challenge

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), funded by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas when school is not in session, primarily from May to September. State agencies administer the program through agreements with sponsors, including school food authorities, local governments, summer camps, and private nonprofits.

The SFSP faces unique challenges to ensuring program integrity (i.e., preventing improper payments and verifying the program operates according to regulations). For instance, some sponsors and sites employ temporary workers or volunteers, and some run a variety of programs of which the SFSP is one small part. These characteristics may make it challenging to train staff and monitor SFSP operations.

Solution

Westat is conducting the SFSP Integrity Study to provide FNS with information on:

  • How state agencies administer and provide SFSP oversight and why they believe it is effective
  • Common SFSP integrity challenges
  • Resources, training, or technical assistance that could support the administration and monitoring of the SFSP

We collect data via a web survey of all state child nutrition directors and telephone interviews with 48 sponsors and 48 sites.

Results

The SFSP Integrity Study will provide insight into how the SFSP is implemented and monitored at the state, sponsor, and site levels, and the integrity challenges that emerge in different settings.

The study will also identify:

  • Which USDA and state-developed SFSP resources provide the most useful guidance on implementing the program
  • What additional guidance the states, sponsors, and/or sites would like to receive

The findings will inform the development and dissemination of additional trainings and technical assistance materials.

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