Government website can jump start back-to-school preparations

(RNN) -

is a good first stop for teachers, parents and students as they begin back-to-school preparations.

The site offers tips that can save parents money, keep kids safe and even help them do their homework.

Most states offer tax-free holidays on school supplies, and some even give tax breaks on big-ticket purchases like computers, software and clothing. Those start kicking in on Aug. 1 and last for the next month or so.

The website offers tips on how to recycle school supplies and stretch your dollars over the course of the school year. There are also links to consumer tips that can save money and minimize waste throughout the year at school and at home. An example: buy a good book bag to begin with and it'll last for years.

The Food and Nutrition Service provides funding to state agencies that enables schools and childcare centers to provide meals for qualifying students. The programs include the School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, The Child and Adult Care Food Program and others. The site can tell if you qualify, and how to apply if you do. It also contains information for schools, teachers and administrators.

Some students can qualify for free or low-cost health insurance through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

An interactive map provides state-by-state information on what is available, which can include hospital and dental care, emergency care, doctor visits, immunizations, medicine and shots.

>Other information includes state-by-state vaccine requirements methods to identify, prevent and stop bullying; mental health resources for children and adolescents; and plenty of learning resources for kids.

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