Panel Paper: Impacts of the Summer EBT for Children Demonstration On Children's Food Security

Saturday, November 9, 2013 : 10:25 AM
Boardroom (Ritz Carlton)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Ann Collins1, Jacob Klerman1 and Ronette Briefel2, (1)Abt Associates, Inc., (2)Mathematica Policy Research
Policymakers have been concerned that children are at greater risk of food insecurity during the summer when they do not have access to the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. To address this concern, the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Act authorized and provided funding for FNS to implement and rigorously evaluate the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) for Children Demonstration. In summer 2012, its second year of operation, this pilot effort implemented demonstrations in 14 urban and rural areas throughout the country. These areas were identified by states and Indian Tribal Organizations because of perceived hardship. Food benefits of approximately $60 per child per summer month were delivered using states’ existing EBT technologies for SNAP and WIC programs to approximately 65,000 children.

Abt and Mathematica, under contract with FNS, implemented a rigorous experimental design to examine the impact of the demonstration on very low food security among children (VLFS-C) — the most severe level of food insecurity. The 2012 study involved randomly assigning over 100,000 households to benefit and non-benefit groups, and interviewing a subsample of 27,000 households in the spring (while school was still in session) and again in the summer. The study found that baseline levels of VLFS-C in study sites were several times higher than national estimates for similar populations. Preliminary findings for 2012 indicate that the demonstration eliminated VLFS-C for approximately one third of children who would have otherwise experienced it. (A draft report is currently under review with FNS and clearance is expected in summer 2013.)