Nationwide Waiver of Annual Review Requirements for State Agencies in the CACFP
In light of the exceptional circumstances of this public health emergency, FNS is granting a nationwide waiver to help minimize potential exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This waiver applies to state agencies administering Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
Select from the following list to see all COVID-19 waivers issued for your state in child nutrition programs.
- Nationwide Waiver of Annual Review Requirements for State Agencies in the Child and Adult Care Food Program
DATE: April 24, 2020 CODE: COVID–19: Child Nutrition Response # 20 SUBJECT: Nationwide Waiver of Annual Review Requirements for State Agencies in the Child and Adult Care Food Program TO:
Special Nutrition Programs
Child Nutrition Programs
Pursuant to section 2202(a) of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) (PL 116-127), and in light of the exceptional circumstances of this public health emergency, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is granting a nationwide waiver to help minimize potential exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This waiver applies to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
Section 2202(a) of the Act 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.
On March 27, 2020, FNS issued a nationwide waiver (COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #8) of the requirement to complete CACFP monitoring requirements on site.
Under program statute, state agencies are required to conduct one scheduled visit of CACFP institutions at not less than 3-year intervals. Program regulations at 7 CFR 226.6(m)(6) require state agencies to annually review at least 33.3 percent of all CACFP institutions with at least 15 percent of those total reviews being unannounced. Additionally, 7 CFR 226.6(m)(6)(i) and (ii) requires state agencies to review independent centers and sponsoring organizations of 1 to 100 facilities once every three years and sponsoring organizations with more than 100 facilities at least once every two years. However, due to COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #8, FNS recognized that it is no longer safe to meet monitoring requirements under this public health emergency. Furthermore, many CACFP institutions are closed, making monitoring of some CACFP institutions not possible and state agencies unable to meet the requirements for frequency and number of reviews.
Therefore, FNS waives, for all state agencies that elect to be subject to this waiver, CACFP monitoring requirements included at Section 17(d)(2)(C) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, as amended [42 USC 1766(d)(2)(C)] and regulations at 7 CFR 226.6(m)(6) and 226.6(m)(6)(i) through (ii). FNS strongly encourages state agencies that elect to not conduct scheduled reviews of CACFP institutions this year to prioritize reviews of these institutions next year.
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 September 30, 2020, or until expiration of the federally declared public health emergency, whichever is earlier.
Consistent with section 2202(a)(2) of the Act, this waiver applies automatically to all states that elect to use it, without further application. If the state agency elects to implement these flexibilities, it must notify its respective FNS regional office who will acknowledge receipt. State responses will be relayed to the FNS State Administration Branch. State agencies should inform sponsoring organizations and local program operators of the flexibilities provided by this waiver as quickly as possible, and work in partnership with local operators to ensure their safety.
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 stands ready to provide assistance to areas impacted by COVID-19, and intends to continue supporting access to nutritious meals during this public health emergency.
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
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.