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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Education say they uncovered a record amount of fraud at child-feeding sites across the state since 2020.

Authorities say over $1.6 million in federal funds were improperly claimed for reimbursement since April 2020. The majority of those improper claims were reported at child-care sites.

“We are incredibly grateful for our schools and community partners that stepped up to ensure the nutritional needs of children were met over the last year, as hundreds of schools provided summer meals for the first time. Oklahoma families rely on these services, and we are committed to ensuring integrity for these programs that fuel young learners,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said. “Oklahoma will continue to leverage federal dollars to help our children gain supports to be healthy and successful, and it is our charge to safeguard that valuable investment by taxpayers.” 

The Office of Child Nutrition Services uncovered the fraudulent activity through a number of accountability measures.

Participation in the Summer Food Service Program soared by over 700% during the pandemic with feeding sites serving over 13 million meals to children from May to August in 2020.