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Categorical Eligibility of Foster Children for Free School Meals:

CDSS issued an All County Information Notice (ACIN) No. I-58-11: CATEGORICAL ELIGIBILITY OF CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE FOR SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMS, regarding The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Section 102). The Act, which was effective October 1, 2010, extended categorical eligibility for free school meals to foster children whose care and placement is the responsibility of the state or was placed with a caretaker household by a court. Previously, a foster child would submit an application for free or reduced price meals. However, this Act allows certification of a foster child for free meals without application.

County departments that provide child welfare services are to make available documentation to local educational agencies (LEAs) indicating the status of the foster child, as described above. The California Department of Education provided a single point of contact (SPOC) list of LEAs to assist county agencies to coordinate the documentation needed for categorical eligibility. Additionally, CDSS began compiling a child welfare county agency SPOC list to assist LEAs that have questions regarding foster children in their district. Agencies that have not submitted their SPOC contact information, or need to update the current information, should submit it to CDSSCFSCMSADMIN@dss.ca.gov.