|DATE:||April 20, 2021|
|POLICY MEMO:||COVID–19: Child Nutrition Response #96|
|SUBJECT:||Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for Sponsors in the Child and Adult Care Food Program – Extension|
Special Nutrition Programs
Child Nutrition Programs
Pursuant to the authority in Section 2202(a) of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the FFCRA) (PL 116-127), as extended by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act (PL 116-159), and based on 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 waiver extends the Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for Sponsors in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, granted on Aug. 4, 2020, that expires on Sept. 30, 2021 – until 30 days after the end of the public health emergency, which was declared on Jan. 31, 2020 by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. This extension 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, as determined by the Secretary.
Under program regulations at 7 CFR 226.16(d)(4)(iii), CACFP sponsoring organizations must review each facility three times each year and: 1) at least two of the three reviews must be unannounced; 2) at least one unannounced review must include observation of meal service; 3) at least one review must be made during each new facility’s first four weeks of program operations; and 4) not more than six months may elapse between reviews. However, FNS recognizes that in this public health emergency, suspending onsite monitoring is vital to support social distancing while providing meals. Additionally, with many CACFP facilities closed, monitoring CACFP may not be possible in some instances. FNS recognizes that sponsoring organizations continue to need additional support and flexibility to monitor CACFP while managing the impacts of COVID-19.
Therefore, pursuant to the FFCRA authority cited above, FNS extends its waiver of the requirement that CACFP monitoring requirements included in 7 CFR 226.16(d)(4)(iii) be conducted onsite. Please note that to ensure program integrity during this time, sponsoring organizations should continue monitoring activities of program operations offsite (e.g., through a desk audit). This waiver is effective immediately, and remains in effect until 30 days after the end of the public health emergency, which was declared on Jan. 31, 2020 by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Consistent with Section 2202(a)(2) of the FFCRA, this extension applies automatically to all states that elect to use it, without further application. If the state agency elects to implement these flexibilities, the state agency must inform their FNS regional office, which will acknowledge receipt. 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.1 Elections and approvals under the initial waiver will continue under this extension; no further action is needed.
As required by Section 2202(d) of the FFCRA, each state or sponsoring organization that elects to be subject to this waiver must submit a report to the Secretary not later than 1 year after the date such state elected to receive the extension.2 The report must include:
- A summary of the use of this extension by the state agency and local program operators, and
- A description of whether and how this extension resulted in improved services to program participants.
FNS appreciates the exceptional effort of state agencies and local program operators working to meet the nutritional needs of participants during a challenging time. State agencies should direct questions to the appropriate FNS regional office.
Program Monitoring and Operational Support Division
2 FNS will submit to OMB for approval a revision to OMB Control #0584-0607 to cover the reporting requirements of this waiver under the Paperwork Reduction Act.