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Iowa won’t participate in US food assistance program for kids this summer

by Gabriel Martinez
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Summer EBT Program

Iowa has made the decision not to partake in the 2024 Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (Summer EBT) program, a federal initiative that provides $40 per month to each child in low-income families to assist with food expenses during the summer break from school. This choice was officially communicated by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education in a news release issued on a Friday.

In the release, Iowa’s Republican Governor, Kim Reynolds, expressed the rationale behind this decision. She stated that federal cash benefit programs introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic are viewed as unsustainable and not offering long-term solutions to the challenges faced by children and families. Governor Reynolds also expressed concerns about the promotion of nutrition, particularly at a time when childhood obesity has become a prevalent issue. She suggested that the Biden Administration and Congress should invest in existing state-level programs and infrastructure, granting states the flexibility to tailor solutions to their specific needs.

One key factor in this decision is the financial burden on the state. States participating in the federal program are required to cover half of the administrative costs, which, in Iowa’s case, would amount to an estimated $2.2 million.

Notably, this decision has faced opposition from some state lawmakers, including Democratic Senator Izaah Knox of Des Moines. Senator Knox expressed disappointment and described the decision as “cruel and short-sighted,” emphasizing the real impact it could have on children and families in Iowa.

Nebraska, a neighboring state, also decided against participating in the Summer EBT program. Nebraska’s Republican Governor, Jim Pillen, cited a belief in solving problems without relying on welfare as a fundamental reason for this decision. However, Nebraska will continue to participate in another federal program called the Summer Food Service Program, which integrates activities such as reading, physical education, and nutrition education with food assistance.

Despite these decisions, a number of states, territories, and tribal nations, including Arizona, California, Kansas, and West Virginia, have expressed their intention to participate in the Summer EBT program in 2024. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that at least 18 states and territories, along with the Cherokee Nation and Chickasaw Nation, are among those planning to partake in the program, while the deadline for states to declare their intent to participate is set for January 1.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Summer EBT Program

Why has Iowa decided not to participate in the Summer EBT program for children this summer?

Iowa has chosen not to participate in the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (Summer EBT) program in 2024 due to concerns about the sustainability of federal COVID-era cash benefit programs and their effectiveness in promoting nutrition.

What are the financial implications of Iowa’s decision regarding the Summer EBT program?

Iowa’s decision not to participate in the Summer EBT program would have required the state to cover half of the administrative costs, estimated at $2.2 million, which influenced their choice.

How have state lawmakers in Iowa reacted to this decision?

Some state lawmakers, including Democratic Senator Izaah Knox, have voiced opposition to Iowa’s decision, describing it as “cruel and short-sighted” and expressing concerns about its impact on hungry children and families.

Has any other state made a similar decision regarding the Summer EBT program?

Yes, Nebraska, another neighboring state, has also opted out of the Summer EBT program. Nebraska’s Governor, Jim Pillen, cited a belief in solving problems without welfare as a reason for this decision.

Are there states that still plan to participate in the Summer EBT program in 2024?

Yes, at least 18 states and territories, along with the Cherokee Nation and Chickasaw Nation, have expressed their intent to participate in the Summer EBT program in 2024. These include Arizona, California, Kansas, West Virginia, and others.

What is the deadline for states to notify their intent to participate in the program this summer?

States, territories, and eligible tribal nations have until January 1 to notify the Department of Agriculture of their intent to participate in the Summer EBT program for the upcoming summer.

More about Summer EBT Program

  • [Iowa Won’t Participate in US Food Assistance Program for Kids](Insert Link)
  • [U.S. Department of Agriculture](Insert Link)
  • [Governor Kim Reynolds’ Statement](Insert Link)
  • [Nebraska’s Decision](Insert Link)
  • [Summer Food Service Program](Insert Link)
  • [National Conference of State Legislatures](Insert Link)

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