In each of the past two fiscal years (FYs) of 2020 and 2021, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (PL 116-94) and Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (PL 116-260) have provided the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) with $25 million (totaling $50 million) in state funding for the purposes of developing, improving, and maintaining automated information technology systems use to operate and manage all child nutrition (CN) programs (i.e., school meal programs, Summer Food Service Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program). These funds will replace the competitive CN Technology Innovation Grant (TIG), which were previously administered by FNS in FYs 2017 and 2019, and be offered to eligible state agencies via a non-competitive process, per the appropriations bills.
Eligibility and Funding Levels
In FY 2021, 54 states and territories (69 state agencies) are administering the CN programs and, therefore, eligible to receive the non-competitive TIG (nTIG). All 54 eligible states and territories will receive an equal distribution based on the $50 million available funds (from FYs 2020 and 2021). Each state will be offered approximately $925,926 for the purposes described. In states where more than one eligible agency administers the CN programs, the funding will be divided among those agencies based on the same distribution percentages used in the state administrative expense funding formula.
Use of Funds
Potential uses for the nTIG funds may be applied toward planning and/or implementation purposes which include, but are not limited to, the following:
Planning activities, such as:
- Feasibility studies and cost/benefit analyses to plan for automation projects;
- Conducting an internal review of the state’s/LEAs/SOs data and administrative processes;
- Hiring a contractor or university to conduct a study of the processes and recommend solutions;
- Consulting with stakeholders; and/or
- Assessing current training and oversight capabilities, needs and effective training.
Implementation activities, such as:
- Web-based software;
- Uniform interfaces between diverse systems;
- Interfaces to improve automation between state and local agencies, including sub-grant awards to local sponsor organizations or local education agency;
- Technology equipment and/or software;
- Other innovative business automation solutions to improve program operation efficiencies, accountability, monitoring and overall program integrity at the state and local levels;
- Hiring contractors such as business analyst, project manager, program developer;
- Training for staff and/or local sponsor organizations or local education agency on new technology module(s) or equipment; and/or
- Purchase hardware to implement changes accordingly.