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Heflin article on coverage gap in food programs for children in kindergarden published in AEP&P

May 20, 2018

Design Flaws: Consequences of the Coverage Gap in Food Programs on Children at Kindergarten Entry

Irma Arteaga, Colleen Heflin & Sarah Parsons

Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, May 2018

Colleen Heflin

Colleen Heflin

Children age out of the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program at 60 months and become eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) upon kindergarten entry. During this period of time, low-income children experience fewer food support services than at any other time.

Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, the authors examine the effects of the duration of the coverage gap between WIC and NSLP on kindergarteners’ skills. Results show evidence of negative effects on reading, though not on math. Findings also suggest that, for children in full-day kindergarten, effects on reading fade out in the spring term.