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Reimbursement for Meals Provided by Parents in the Child Care Food Program

EO Guidance Document #
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PDF Icon FNS Instruction 784-3 (122.45 KB)
DATE: October 14, 1982
POLICY MEMO: FNS Instruction 784-3
SUBJECT: Reimbursement for Meals Provided by Parents in the Child Care Food Program

Section 226.7(m) of the Child Care Food Program regulations requires each state agency to establish standards for institutional recordkeeping and reporting, that "prohibit claiming reimbursement for meals provided by a child's parents except as authorized by (§226.18(e))" (which permits such meals to be claimed when served by a day care home provider to her own children under specific conditions).

The basic premise of all the child nutrition programs is to reimburse participating schools and institutions for .costs associated with providing wholesome, nutritious meals to children. If costs are not incurred, then reimbursement is not paid. If children bring their own food to a child care center or home, then such meals should not be claimed for reimbursement.

If it is necessary for a parent to supply a particular item for medical reasons (§226.20(h)), then the meal may still be claimed for reimbursement if the provider supplies at least one required meal component. Examples would be (1) a substitute required by an allergic reaction to milk and (2) rice crackers instead of bread for children with a wheat malabsorption problem.

Administering agencies should exercise .special care to ensure that, except in unusual cases, homes and centers provide complete meals to children.

Jordan Benderley
Child Care and Summer Programs Division

Page updated: April 05, 2023

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.