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Notice to Beneficiaries and Prospective Beneficiaries

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USDA and eight other federal agencies recently published a final rule entitled, Partnerships With Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations at 89 FR 15671 (final rule). The final rule amended USDA regulations at 7 CFR part 16 related to equal opportunity for faith-based organizations that operate USDA programs and religious protections for USDA program beneficiaries. Because the child nutrition programs provide direct federal assistance, these regulations apply to all local operators of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and Special Milk Program (SMP) (collectively the child nutrition programs). 

The final rule is effective on July 2, 2024, and requires that providers of direct federal assistance, which includes child nutrition programs local operators:

  • must provide written notice to beneficiaries of their right to be free from discrimination on the basis of religion;
  • must provide written notice to beneficiaries of how to report violations of these regulatory protections; and,
  • may provide written notice to beneficiaries on how to obtain information about other federally funded service providers available in their area.

To support implementation, the USDA Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights recently released a model written notice to beneficiaries, which should be used by child nutrition program state agencies and local operators to provide the required notice. Child nutrition program local operators must provide written notice to beneficiaries by using one or more of the methods below:

  • post a written notice at the service location (e.g., schools, child care centers, community organization sites); or,
  • post a written notice on the local program operator website; or,
  • provide flyers or handouts at food distribution sites (e.g., congregate meal sites, non-congregate meal pick up locations, etc.); or,
  • add the written notification to the program application.


Page updated: July 02, 2024