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Indiana Department of Education announces 2017-18 food program guidelines

The Indiana Department of Education announced new income eligibility guidelines for the Child and Adult Care Food Program on Monday. 

The program is a resource at day care centers and adult day care centers based on U.S. federal poverty levels, according to the Indiana Department of Education.

The income eligibility guidelines lay out by household size who is eligible for reduced-price meals and who is eligible for free meals. 

Though they technically began the new guidelines July 1, 2017, the INDOE announced the guidelines to the state Monday. 

The purpose of the CACFP is to work toward improving the diets of children and older and impaired adults and to give these people more access to more varieties of nutritious foods, according to the release. The meals and snacks that will be served meet federal nutritional standards put in place by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The required weekly income for household sizes of one to receive reduced-priced meals will now be $430, a $7 increase from last year.

At the highest household size listed, a household of eight, the household must be at or below $1,471 a week, a $16 dollar increase from the previous year. For each additional family member in a household past eight, the guidelines state to add $149 per week, one dollar above the previous year's guidelines. 

Based on family circumstances, according to a release from the department, certain groups are automatically eligible for these free or reduced-price benefits on meals. 

This includes people who qualify for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food stamps in Indiana. This also includes foster children or children enrolled in Head Start, At-Risk Afterschool Center or an Emergency Shelter, according to the release. 

These guidelines will remain in effect until June 30, 2018. 

Katelyn Haas

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