|DATE:||April 6, 2023|
|SUBJECT:||Oversight and Monitoring of the Child and Adult Care Food Program - Guidance on On-site and Off-site Strategies and Options|
Special Nutrition Programs
Child Nutrition Programs
The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance regarding on-site and off-site strategies and options for oversight and monitoring of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
One of the primary responsibilities of the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is the oversight and management of the 16 federal nutrition assistance programs. Program monitoring is essential for ensuring that the federally funded child nutrition programs meet the requirements set forth in regulations, are operated with integrity, and provide nutritious meals and snacks to those who participate in the programs.
With the announcement of the start of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) on March 13, 2020, on-site monitoring of the Child Nutrition Programs became challenging and difficult to conduct as the number of COVID-19 cases increased and social distancing measures were enacted. FNS issued nationwide waivers for on-site monitoring requirements, allowing state agencies and sponsors to monitor program operations off-site. Off-site monitoring helped ensure program integrity while protecting the health and safety of staff and participants.
As outlined in SP 03-2023, CACFP 02-2023, Offsite Monitoring of the CACFP and School Meal Programs After the Public Health Emergency Ends, the Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that May 11, 2023, is the planned end date for the COVID-19 PHE. Given this expiration date, the FNS-issued nationwide on-site monitoring waivers are set to expire on June 10, 2023, 30 days after the end of the PHE. In addition to these nationwide waivers, FNS issued individual off-site monitoring waivers for states that requested them. While not impacted by the end of the PHE, these waivers are scheduled to expire on June 30, 2023.
FNS understands that state agencies quickly adapted review and monitoring procedures to include off-site strategies in response to the COVID-19 PHE and are interested in continuing to adapt some review procedures. The intent of this memorandum is to provide guidance to state agencies regarding on-site monitoring and when it is required by regulations, when states have discretion to conduct monitoring off-site, and what monitoring procedures are recommended when states have discretion to conduct monitoring on or offsite. In addition, with state agency approval, local operators may utilize the guidance in this memorandum. FNS recognizes that there is not a universal approach to monitoring. Although this memorandum outlines areas of discretion in general, state agencies also have some discretion when considering the oversight needs of individual program operators when determining what review elements could be examined on-site versus off-site. Some operators may benefit from most review activities conducted on-site, and for others, on-site time may be better utilized on technical assistance.
Accompanying this memorandum is an appendix that outlines the review requirements and the on-site and off-site strategies and options applicable to the CACFP.
State agencies are reminded to distribute this memorandum to program operators immediately. Program operators should direct any questions concerning this guidance to their respective state agency. State agencies with questions should contact the appropriate FNS regional office.
Jessica Saracino Director
Program Monitoring and Operational Support Division
Child Nutrition Programs