Existing Flexibilities in the Summer Food Service Program
|DATE:||May 9, 2011|
|POLICY MEMO:||SFSP 14 - 2011|
|SUBJECT:||Existing Flexibilities in the Summer Food Service Program|
|TO:||Special Nutrition Programs
Child Nutrition Programs
This memorandum is intended to highlight flexibilities that already exist at the state level to simplify and improve the delivery of nutrition assistance to low-income children during the summer months through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Additionally, we have offered clarification on issues that have come to our attention that may be limiting program participation.
This past winter the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provided a number of opportunities for SFSP stakeholders to offer ideas for program simplification. Some of the suggestions related to flexibilities in the program that are already available, referenced state procedures that were not in compliance with the regulations, or related to additional state requirements and restrictions that are not required under Federal law.
With regard to additional state requirements, states are authorized by the regulations to impose additional operating requirements that are not inconsistent with the Federal requirements, do not deny access to the program to eligible children, and have been reviewed and approved by the applicable FNS Regional Offices as required by 7 CFR §225.18(f).
However, we have heard that some additional state requirements are increasing the complexity of the program and discouraging participation. Therefore, we encourage states to reconsider their additional requirements and take advantage of the currently available flexibilities to simplify SFSP requirements and increase participation.
Additionally, states should review the issues noted below and ensure that state policies and procedures relating to the SFSP are in compliance with the Federal requirements.
Similarly, the regulations require states to notify applicants of their approval or denial within 30 days of receiving a complete and correct application (7 CFR §225.6(b) 3)). state agencies should ensure that applications are reviewed within the required timeframes so that sponsors have adequate time to properly plan and organize their programs. states may not wait until the application deadline has passed to begin reviewing applications and notifying sponsors of their status.
- of participation and preparation or ordering of meals to demonstrate that the appropriate number of meals were ordered (7 CFR §225.15(b)(3)); and
- that justify all costs and meals claimed (7 CFR §225.15(c)(1)).
These should include records of: meal counts taken daily at each site; program operating costs, including food and other costs; program administrative costs, including labor and supplies; and funds accruing to the program.
Some states also require sponsors to maintain production records, which include detailed information about how food was purchased and the specific amounts of foods prepared and served. This is not a Federal requirement and is frequently cited by sponsors as an administrative burden. States that currently require sponsors to maintain production records are encouraged to reconsider this requirement.
State agencies should direct any questions concerning this guidance to the appropriate FNS regional office. Regional offices with questions should contact the Child Nutrition Division.
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.