Guidance to states for CACFP Emergency funding has been published by USDA Food Nutrition Services (FNS).
On January 26, 2021, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published implementation guidance for the CNP Emergency Operational Costs Programs, as authorized in Sec. 722 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260). Under this authority, FNS is offering additional funds to State agencies administering the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to provide eligible program operators with additional reimbursements for emergency operating costs they incurred during the public health emergency.
This release includes the following documents:
1. SP 06-2021, CACFP 05-2021 CN Emergency Operating Costs Cover Memo (CACFP Part Starts on Page 5) (link)
2. SP 06-2021, CACFP 05-2021 Attachment 1 CN Emergency Operating Costs State Agency Application Template (link)
3. SP 06-2021, CACFP 05-2021 Attachment 2 CN Emergency Operating Costs Q&A (link)
What happens next? The state agencies have thirty days to apply and provide FNS with their plan of disburse the funds.
It's a holiday miracle!!
Congressional leaders released a COVID-19 relief package today that is expected to pass both chambers, funding the government though the end of the fiscal year and providing relief to a coronavirus-battered economy. Specifically, it makes an immediate and essential downpayment on nutrition and other critical assistance for tens of millions of people across the country whose lives have been upended by the pandemic.
The bill includes $13 billion in increased SNAP and child nutrition benefits to help relieve the COVID hunger crisis. For CACFP, support for child care providers and sponsors will come by replacing 55 percent of the total reimbursement funding lost for each claiming month from April 2020 to June 2020 plus half of March 2020.
For many months, the CCFP Roundtable and the National CACFP Forum have jointly advocated this proposal. Emergency funding to CACFP sponsors, centers, homes, and afterschool programs is desperately needed to help cover deficits in operating-cost that have been created by shutdowns, as well as a shift in services, that occurred during the pandemic. This important provision in the relief package will be crucial to maintaining the infrastructure and financial viability of program operators and administrators. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CACFP meal reimbursements have decreased significantly. Based on Food Research & Action Center’s (FRAC) analysis of the most recent USDA data available, child care providers received $92.0 million fewer dollars (-29.4 percent) in April 2020 compared to April 2019.
Child care providers and sponsors are losing reimbursements that are needed to support fixed costs; this loss contributes to deficits in already overburdened child care budgets and compounds instability in the infrastructure for providing child care in the U.S. In June 2020, we conducted a survey of CACFP sponsors; with over 1,200 respondents the need for emergency funding is clear. For family child care sponsors, the decline in claimed homes averaged 27%. For the same time period, center sponsors reported a 72% decrease in participating centers claiming. The sudden decrease of claiming providers creates a stark financial burden for CACFP sponsors with the loss of administrative funds. The loss of these funds jeopardizes sponsors' ability to keep their staff on board and their doors open. The greatest need cited by CACFP sponsors to assist with recovery during the pandemic was financial.
Stayed tuned for more information!
The National CACFP Forum and the Child Care Food Program Roundtable have teamed up again to provide guidance to federal policy makers. We have sent a letter to the USDA transition team outlining immediate action and long term priorities that will support and make stronger the CACFP.
You can find the letter here.
When we talk about legislative policy, we are talking about policy in terms of working with Congress and other elected officials. These are policies that are set forth in bills such as the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act (CNR). Congress sets rules in these bills that USDA must implement. For example, when Congress passed the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA) in 2010, they stated that USDA had to change the meal patterns to better align with the updated dietary guidelines set forth in the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report. Then USDA determined what those regulations were going to be through the process required of making new regulations (Proposed Rule ---> Comment ---> Final Rule).
Another important note is that changes in reimbursement amounts (and how those are determined) or the meals that can be reimbursed (adding an additional meal for reimbursement) are also set forth by Congress, which is legislative policy. So, for these types of things we work with Congressional members to advise and educate them about the food program, its impact, and what can be done by Congress to make it better.
In response to COVID-19, the USDA has released three new nationwide waivers to support access to food in the child nutrition programs. These waivers are effective immediately, and remain in effect through June 30, 2020, or until expiration of the federally declared public health emergency, whichever is earlier. These waivers apply automatically to all States that elect to use them, without further application.
Congress is making decisions NOW about the trillion dollar economic stimulus package. The National CACFP Forum has written a letter to ensure the CACFP is well represented in this package. You can view it here.
Our partners at the National CACFP Sponsors Association have made it quick and easy to tell your Congress members to not forget about CACFP during this crisis. Don't wait - join us in standing with your CACFP community.
USDA issued a new plan to distribute funding for the Child and Adult Care Food Program and other federal food programs during the government shut down. As per USDA, “States already have funding to cover CN program operations for the month of January (approximately $2.1 billion) on the basis of the last continuing resolution. This week, we will provide an additional two months’ worth of funding, consistent with the standard practice of funding these programs on a quarterly basis.”
USDA has issued memos covering the funding: Update on Funds Available for the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, Child Nutrition Programs: https://www.cacfp.org/files/8715/4704/0396/CNfundsmemo.pdf