Update on Electronic Transactions in the Child Nutrition Programs
We have received numerous questions regarding the electronic transfer of information in the administration of state-administered Federal programs. This memo updates the Oct. 2, 2001 policy memo regarding electronic transactions in Child Nutrition Programs (CNP).
Two Federal laws which address the electronic transfer of information are the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) of 1998 and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN) of 2000. The provisions in these laws apply to Federal agencies; however, they do not apply to state Agencies (SAs) or local agencies. Local agencies include Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP), institutions in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and sponsoring organizations (sponsors) in the Sumer Food Service Program (SFSP). Each state and local agency should review their state’s statutes and policies regarding the electronic transfer of information in state-administered Federal program.
These Questions and Answers (Q&As) are intended to provide general guidance on the use of electronic transactions for CNP. This guidance can provide a framework for SAs and local agencies to implement their own systems and establish their own policies which must ensure the legal sufficiency of the information and signature provided.
The Q&As cover different types of electronic transactions, those between SAs and local agencies and those between local agencies and households, such as electronic application. State statutes and policies regarding the electronic transfer of information may be different depending on the parties involved.
In accordance with the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (PL 108-265), which amended section 9(b) of the National School Lunch Act, we encourage local agencies to accept electronic household applications. Local agencies must have the capability to provide legally binding electronic signatures as per state and local regulation.
When local agencies do not have the capability to provide legally binding electronic signatures, local agencies must collect a hard copy signature of critical program documents, such as household application. A Level 2 authentication would meet program requirements for most CNP documents as defined in question B5 of this guidance.
At the end of the Q&As, we have also included a definition section and a website list. These documents will assist in understanding some of the more technical terms and concepts used throughout the Q&As.
Please share this information with local agencies. If you have any questions regarding this memorandum, please contact your respective regional office.
STANLEY C. GARNETT
Child Nutrition Division