California's Free School Meals for All (FSMFA) policy is a landmark investment in free school meals for all students that may reduce stigma and improve students' food security, diet, health, school attendance and academic performance. It will be implemented beginning in school year 2022-23. The University of California Nutrition Policy Institute received funding from the California state legislative office to assess the FSMA program and policy implementation through a formative evaluation to inform initial implementation, process evaluation to identify challenges and facilitators to optimize ongoing implementation, and outcome evaluation to quantify impacts on schools, students, families and communities over time. The four-year study began in October 2021 with NPI's Wendi Gosliner as principal investigator in collaboration with research team members Lorrene Ritchie, Christina Hecht and Ken Hecht. The NPI Research team is collaborating with multiple partners, including the California Department of Education, a variety of non-profit and community-based organizations that engage parents and students, as well as a team of national researchers studying the implementation of free school meals for all students in Maine.
Author - Policy Analyst
Author - Project scientist
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist