The Special Milk Program provides milk to children in schools, child care institutions and eligible camps that do not participate in other federal child nutrition meal service programs. The program reimburses schools and institutions for the milk they serve. In 2011, 3,848 schools and residential child care institutions participated, along with 782 summer camps and 527 non‐residential child care institutions. Schools in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs may also participate in the Special Milk Program to provide milk to children in half‐day pre‐kindergarten and kindergarten programs where children do not have access to the school meal programs.
The Food and Nutrition Service administers the program at the federal level. At the state level, the Special Milk Program is usually administered by state education agencies, which operate the program through agreements with school food authorities.