|DATE:||June 8, 2020|
|POLICY MEMO:||COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #28|
|SUBJECT:||Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Child and Adult Care Food Program – EXTENSION 1|
Special Nutrition Programs
Pursuant to section 2202(a) of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the FFCRA) (PL 116-127), and in light of the exceptional circumstances of this public health emergency, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is extending a nationwide waiver to help minimize potential exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This extension of Nationwide Waiver of Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, issued March 26, 2020, applies to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
Section 2202(a) of the FFCRA permits the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a waiver for all states for the purposes of providing meals under the child nutrition programs, with appropriate safety measures while providing meals, as determined by the Secretary.
Under program statute, state agencies are required to conduct one scheduled visit of CACFP institutions at not less than 3-year intervals. CACFP regulations at 7 CFR 226.6(m)(6) go on to require state agencies to annually review at least 33.3 percent of all CACFP institutions. Additionally, per 7 CFR 226.6(b)(1), state agencies are required to do a pre-approval visit of all new CACFP sponsors. However, FNS recognizes that in this public health emergency, suspending onsite monitoring is vital to support social distancing. Additionally, with many CACFP institutions closed, monitoring CACFP may not be possible in some instances.
Therefore, for all state agencies that elect to be subject to this waiver, FNS extends its waiver of the requirement that CACFP monitoring requirements included at Section 17 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, as amended [42 USC 1766], as well as regulations at 7 CFR 226.6(b)(1) and 226.6(m)(6) be conducted onsite. Please note that to ensure Program integrity during this time, state agencies should, to the maximum extent practicable, continue monitoring activities of Program operations offsite (e.g., through a desk audit). This waiver is effective immediately, and remains in effect through Aug. 31, 2020.
Consistent with section 2202(a)(2) of the FFCRA, this waiver applies automatically to all states that elect to use it, without further application. State agencies must inform their FNS regional office if they elect to be subject to the waiver. State agencies should inform sponsoring organizations and local Program operators of the extension of this waiver as quickly as possible, and work in partnership with local operators to ensure their safety. Elections and approvals under the initial waiver will continue under this extension; no further action is needed.
As required by section 2202(d), each state that receives this waiver must submit a report to the Secretary not later than 1 year after the date such state received the waiver that includes:
- A summary of the use of this waiver by the state agency and local program operators, and
- A description of whether this waiver resulted in improved services to children.
FNS appreciates the exceptional effort of state agencies and local Program operators working to meet the nutritional needs of child and adult participants during a challenging time. State agencies should direct questions to the appropriate FNS regional office.
Program Monitoring and Operational Support Division