Implementation of Section 361, Full Use of Federal Funds, FAQ – Second Edition
|DATE:||March 29, 2011|
|MEMO CODE:||SP25 CACFP14 SFSP09-2011|
|SUBJECT:||Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization 2010: Implementation of Section 361, Full Use of Federal Funds|
On February 18, 2011, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) issued child nutrition (CN) memorandum SP20 CACFP10 SFSP07-2011 addressing implementation of Section 361 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the Act), Full Use of Federal Funds. That memorandum directed state agencies (SA) to sign an amendment to the federal/state agreement with FNS by March 31, 2011, acknowledging that each SA will abide by the requirements set forth in Section 361 of the Act, which amended Section 12(b) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA), 42 USC 1760(b).
The NSLA, as amended by Section 361 of the Act, requires SAs to support full use of the federal administrative funds provided for the CN programs. The federal administrative funds are specifically excluded from state budget restrictions or limitations including, at a minimum, hiring freezes, work furloughs, and travel restrictions. These federal administrative funds are intended to support state administration of the CN programs such as administrative oversight, compliance, and technical assistance.
In recent months, FNS has conducted a number of listening sessions to explain the provisions of the Act and its implementation. During those sessions, and through other means, we have heard concerns regarding the implementation of Section 361. To respond to those concerns, we developed the attached fact sheet of frequently asked questions (FAQs). In addition, we are allowing a four-week extension of the previously-stated March 31, 2011 due date for SAs’ submission of signed amendments to the federal/state agreement. The due date for submission to your FNS regional office is no later than April 26, 2011.
Please keep in mind that CN programs administrative funds are intended to ensure that our programs are run effectively and efficiently in each state. These programs provide immediate support for children, and most importantly, to those from low-income families. In these challenging fiscal times, we must put every effort into providing access to nutrition assistance for those in need. These programs also have a secondary effect of stimulating local economies. As each state benefits from these programs, we must continue to be mindful of our responsibility as stewards of Federal funds. SA outreach, technical assistance, and compliance activities provide the foundation of a viable nutrition safety net. We strongly encourage you to maximize the use of federal funds, as returning unspent federal administrative funds to USDA for reallocation could have the unintended consequence of undermining the nutrition safety net in your state.
We appreciate that each SA may have special challenges in implementing Section 361, depending on state specific personnel issues, union issues, cost allocation plans, and plans for dealing with budget deficits. We stand ready to work with SAs, through our FNS regional offices, to ensure compliance on a timely basis while being sensitive to the challenges and constraints a SA may face. We encourage you to work closely with our FNS regional office staff as questions arise.
We look forward to working with you as we strengthen the administration of the CN programs. It is through this partnership that we can find better ways to meet the nutritional needs of the children in your state and throughout the nation.
Child Nutrition Division
The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.