Summer EBT for Children (SEBTC) demonstration

December 22, 2014

The Department of Social Services (DSS) in partnership with the Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education, Health and Senior Services and two Community Partnerships were recently recognized for their outstanding work implementing the Summer EBT for Children (SEBTC) demonstration. This demonstration project, the largest in USDA history, sought to find innovative strategies for addressing hunger during summer, when low- income children do not have access to school meals. Missouri DSS and its partners were one of only 5 states selected to participate in this demonstration in 2010.

The model tested in Missouri involved issuing $60 per child per month to eligible families whose children were receiving free and reduced price meals, selected through a lottery and consenting to participate in a rigorous evaluation. In the summer of 2010 over 2,500 low income children in the Hickman Mills, Center and Kansas City, Missouri School Districts received this benefit. Because of the success of this proof of concept, Missouri was asked to participate in 2012 and 2013. In the summer of 2012, USDA approved an expansion to St. Louis. Over 10,000 children in St. Louis and Kansas City received the benefit. In 2013, almost 14,000 children received the benefit.

Our KIDS COUNT Community partnerships, LINC and ARCHS were the ‘feet on the ground’, working closely with the participating school districts and with the children and families to ensure they understood the project, how to maximize the benefit for the best summer food options, and answering questions from all stakeholders about this unique project.

The Kansas City and St. Louis area grocery stores and other food retail venues were very supportive of the project. In total, this project brought over $3.4 million in new benefits spent on behalf of low income children.

USDA issued a series of reports to Congress, as required in the Agriculture Appropriations Act (PL 111-80) of 2010 providing an overview of progress in conducting and evaluating these projects. The evaluation found that the benefit is well targeted to households most in need, that very low food insecurity among children was reduced by 33%, and children ate more healthfully.

DSS was recently contacted by USDA to participate in SEBTC 2015, if additional funding is approved by Congress.

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