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Eligibility Based on Census Data: 2013 Data Release

EO Guidance Document #
FNS Document #
CACFP06 SFSP11-2013
Resource type
Policy Memos
Guidance Documents
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (811.47 KB)

This memorandum has been superseded by SP10CACFP04 SFSP03-2015: Area Eligibility in Child Nutrition Programs

DATE: February 21, 2013
SUBJECT: Eligibility Based on Census Data: 2013 Data Release
TO: Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All States

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance regarding the use of the most recent census data release for area eligibility determinations in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). These new data are effective with release of this memo and available in the 2013 folder on PartnerWeb. The 2012 data will be available for monitoring and reviews and can be found in the 2012 folder.

Policy Memo CACFP 07-2012, SFSP 09-2012, Eligibility Based on Census Data: 2012 Data Release describes in detail how to determine area eligibility using census data for CACFP day care homes and SFSP sites. Briefly, CACFP day care homes and SFSP sites that establish eligibility using census data are required to use the most recent census data available (7 CFR 226.6(f); 7 CFR 225.6(c)). Area eligibility determinations based on census data are effective for five years (see CACFP 02-2012, SFSP 02-2012, Eligibility Based on Census Data, Oct. 31, 2011 .

In order for a CACFP day care home or a SFSP site to be eligible, 50 percent or more of the children in a Census Block Group (CBG) must be eligible for free or reduced price school meals. CACFP day care homes and SFSP sites are considered area eligible if they are located in a CBG that qualifies under either CACFP or SFSP.

Sponsors must annually inform tier II day care home providers that the provider may ask for a reclassification to be considered when new census data become available each year and that reclassification may be made at any time for tier II homes. If a day care home is currently classified as tier II, but the CBG data demonstrates that the home is now tier I, then the sponsor may immediately change the status of that home to tier I and pay the higher rate of reimbursement for the current and subsequent months. A reclassification to Tier I status is good for five years, at which time eligibility for this classification will need to be reconfirmed. Retroactive reimbursement at the higher tier I rates will not be provided for any previous month.

Using the New Data

Individual .XLS (Excel) files containing eligibility information have been created for every CBG for each state. Within each data file is an ‘Eligible’ column that can be used to determine eligibility for both programs. Please note the important details about opening the file correctly in different formats.

Instructions for determining eligibility using the 2013 data are provided in the same folder as the data. The instructions offer two different tools to determine eligibility: the Census Bureau tools and a map developed by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). The FRAC map is constructed from the same data files that are available on PartnerWeb and may be used to determine eligibility.

We would appreciate feedback regarding how the data are delivered, including formatting, and any challenges you may have encountered when using the data. As new data are released each year, state agencies and sponsors will be required to use the newest data for new classifications.

State agencies are reminded to distribute this information to program operators immediately. Program operators should direct any questions regarding this memorandum to the appropriate state agency. State agency contact information is available at State agencies should direct questions to the appropriate FNS regional office.

Cynthia Long
Child Nutrition Division


Page updated: March 01, 2023

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.