|DATE:||February 21, 2003|
|SUBJECT:||Implementation of Interim Rule: Monitor Staffing Standards in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) [§§ 226.16(b)(1), 226.6(b)(18)(ii)(B), and 226.6(f)(2)]|
Child Nutrition Programs
|State Agency Directors
The purpose of this memorandum is to transmit the enclosed guidance concerning proper implementation of PL 106-224. Specifically, the guidance concerns the statutory mandate that FNS establish rules requiring sponsoring organizations to “employ an appropriate number of monitoring personnel based on the number and characteristics” of the facilities operated by the sponsor. That mandate was implemented in § 226.16(b)(1), 226.6(b)(18)(ii)(B), and 226.6(f)(2) of the interim rule published on June 27, 2002.
The enclosed guidance expands on the training provided to state agencies last fall by making several changes and clarifications to the information on monitor staffing standards that we presented at that time. These adjustments result from questions raised by state agencies during the training, and from our review of the public comments submitted on the interim rule.
Because many state agencies will train sponsors on these requirements later this spring, it is helpful to make this guidance available now, so that it can be shared immediately with affected sponsors. This will ensure that all state agencies and sponsors properly implement these provisions in fiscal year (FY) 2004.
In summary, the attached guidance:
- Extends the official deadline for implementation. We have extended the deadline for implementation of this provision, from July 29, 2003, to Oct. 1, 2003.
- Re-emphasizes which sponsors are subject to this requirement. As explained in our training on the interim rule, although all sponsors are subject regulatory requirement at § 226.15(d) to have adequate staff devoted to “management and monitoring of the program,” only sponsors of more than 50 homes or of more than 25 centers must meet the federal staffing standards set forth at § 226.16(b)(1). In effect, this limits the regulatory provision’s applicability to the roughly 60 percent of day care home sponsors that operate the program in more than 50 homes, and to the very few sponsors of more than 25 centers. State agencies must, of course, continue to assess the adequacy of staff devoted to monitoring in all sponsorships, regardless of size.
- Explains how to calculate and document the number of full-time equivalent staff (FTEs) that a sponsor devotes to monitoring. This portion of the guidance explains how to calculate and document FTEs. It also clarifies that an individual monitor may be responsible for more than 150 homes, while the sponsorship as a whole still falls within the prescribed ratio, and that the ratio should be determined with reference to the sponsor’s number of claiming homes, as opposed to the number of its approved homes.
- Expands and clarifies the definition of what constitutes a monitoring-related function, for the purpose of determining the FTEs devoted to monitoring. These changes and clarifications result from state agency and sponsor input provided at the training and in public comments on the interim rule.
- Provides state agencies with suggestions regarding the development of the “state staffing factors” required at §226.6(f)(2) of the interim rule.
- Outlines the procedures to be used by sponsors and state agencies in requesting one-year waivers of this regulatory requirement, and explains the criteria we will use for approval of such requests. Although waivers were discussed in the training, this guidance provides more detailed information on submission procedures and approval criteria.
We are aware that the initial implementation of this provision may be difficult. Therefore, we strongly urge state agencies and sponsors to begin work on this requirement now, to avoid a logjam of paperwork in state agencies (reviewing management plans) and FNS (reviewing waiver requests) at the end of the current fiscal year.
After disseminating this guidance to all affected sponsors in their state, we recommend that the state agency develop its state staffing factors and disseminate them to sponsors as quickly as possible. We also recommend that state agencies conduct a preliminary analysis of the management plans of affected sponsors in their state, to determine the potential number of waiver requests that sponsors may ask the state agency to submit to FNS on their behalf.
We recommend that sponsors use this guidance to begin analyzing their current level of monitor staffing. The current-year (FY 2003) budget and management plan should be reviewed to determine the sponsor’s current allocation of resources. If the sponsor does not already have a way of documenting the percentage of time that each staff person devotes to monitoring-related functions, a method of documentation (such as job descriptions with the number of hours and percentage of time each staff person will devote to monitoring) will need to be developed, so that the sponsor can convert this information into monitoring-related FTEs.
We also recommend that state agencies and sponsors discuss this guidance and their preliminary analyses of each sponsor’s monitor staffing. This will permit the sponsor and state agency to clear up any misunderstandings well before the sponsor’s submission of a FY 2004 management plan and budget. If this preliminary process can be completed during the spring of 2003, it will provide sponsors with sufficient time to adjust their budgets budget and staffing, and/or apply for a waiver, if necessary.
STANLEY C. GARNETT
Child Nutrition Division