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CACFP Administrative Manual Section 11.1

Child and Adult Care Food Program Administrative Manual Section 11: Civil Rights.
Important Notice: CACFP Program Moved to CDSS

The Early Childhood Development Act of 2020 (Senate Bill (SB) 98, Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) authorized the transfer of child care and development programs administered by the California Department of Education to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) effective July 1, 2021. The content on this page may not be current and involves the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that has moved to CDSS. Visit the CDSS CACFP web page External link opens in new window or tab. or call 1-833-559-2420 for more information.

Table of Contents
Terms, Definitions, and Acronyms

Section 11: Civil Rights

Civil Rights Training

As part of the annual training requirement, agencies must provide staff with training on civil rights. Training must cover these topics:

  • Collection and use of data
  • Effective methods of public notification
  • Complaint procedures
  • Compliance review techniques
  • Resolution of noncompliance
  • Requirements for reasonable accommodation of persons with disabilities
  • Requirements for language assistance
  • Conflict resolution
  • Customer service

The guidance within this section provides brief information on each of these topics. For additional information, refer to the following resources:

Collection and Use of Data

Agencies are required to collect and report racial and ethnic data annually. This information is submitted through the CNIPS during the annual update process.

Data may be collected on the participant’s enrollment form, meal benefit form, or through other means. If a parent, guardian, or participant elects not to disclose racial/ethnic data to the agency, the agency must report the participant’s racial/ethnic category based on visual observation.

Effective Methods of Public Notification

Media Release

New CACFP agencies must issue a public release announcing the availability of the CACFP through their agency. This media release must be issued within 30 days of approval to participate in the CACFP. Agencies should retain documentation that the release was sent. Sample media release templates are located in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS.

Note: Agencies are not required to pay for a media release, however, they must maintain a quote in the event that they were charged.

Every year after an agency’s first year on the program, the CDE will issue an annual statewide media release on behalf of all existing CACFP agencies.

And Justice for All Poster

The USDA And Justice for All nondiscrimination poster must be prominently displayed in the administrative office and at each site in central areas that are visible to program recipients, such as the food service area. The displayed poster must be 11 inches by 17 inches.

Exception: The And Justice for All poster is not required to be displayed in DCHs.

To obtain And Justice for All posters, agencies may contact the NSD by e-mail at CACFP@cde.ca.gov.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

All forms of communication available to the public regarding the CACFP must contain the appropriate nondiscrimination statement. The USDA has a long version as well as a short version of this statement. Agencies must use the long version in all situations except when the long version would alter the nature of the document (i.e., on brochures, flyers, pamphlets, etc.). Both versions of the nondiscrimination statement are located on the CDE Civil Rights Fact Sheet Web page.

Complaint Procedures

Agencies are required to have written procedures for handling civil rights and program complaints. Agencies are encouraged to adopt the NSD’s Civil Rights Compliant Procedures, Form ID CACFP 35, located in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS.

A civil rights complaint can be a written, verbal, or anonymous statement alleging discrimination based on one or more of the six protected bases in the CACFP: race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

All complaints of discrimination must be forwarded to the USDA national office within 180 days for review. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found on the USDA Filing a Program Discrimination Complaint as a USDA Customer Web page External link opens in new window or tab., and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to the USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to the USDA by:

1. Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

2. Fax: 202-690-7442

3. E-mail: program.intake@usda.gov.

Whenever an agency receives a complaint, the Civil Rights Coordinator must log the complaint. The complaint log should include (at a minimum) the following:

  • Name, address, and telephone number or other means of contacting the person filing the complaint (if not anonymous);
  • Specific location and name of the agency;
  • Nature of the complaint or action that led to the charges being filed.
Civil Rights Coordinator

Agencies are required to appoint a Civil Rights Coordinator whose duties include:

  • Ensuring that the agency complies with the civil rights requirements;
  • Maintaining documentation that the civil rights requirements have been implemented;
  • Ensuring that special meals are made available to participants with disabilities who have a signed medical statement documenting that their disability restricts their diet;
  • Providing the public, participants, and potential participants written information about program requirements and the procedures for filing a complaint in English and/or in the appropriate language of non-English speaking people;
  • Developing a method to collect ethnic and racial data;
  • Providing annual civil rights training that includes implementing procedures to determine civil rights complaints and information on how to file complaints;
  • Maintaining a complaint log that contains all pertinent information to organize and facilitate complaint tracking;
  • Ensuring that the most current version of the federal nondiscrimination statement is placed in a prominent location and that the statement is included on all informational releases, publications, posters, and public materials such as advertisements, flyers, and postcards concerning nutrition program activities; and
  • Notifying the USDA national office of all complaints of discrimination.

Note: Civil Rights Coordinators are responsible for providing information on how to file a complaint with the USDA and noting the details of the complaint on their complaint logs. All complaints of discrimination must be forwarded to the USDA national office for review. A complaint must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory action, unless a waiver of the filing deadline is granted by the USDA. Agency staff must not talk to anyone about the civil rights complaint. The Civil Rights Coordinator must notify the USDA of the complaint without initiating an investigation.

If the complaint does not allege discrimination based on one of the six protected bases (race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability), it is not a civil rights complaint. Instead, it is considered a program complaint and must be investigated by the agency according to its internal procedures for handling program complaints.

Compliance Review Techniques and Resolution of Noncompliance

During an administrative review, a representative from the CDE and/or the USDA will determine if your agency is compliant with civil rights requirements and other state and federal regulations. For a list of compliance areas, please contact your Field Services Representative or call the Field Services Unit main line at 916-323-4558.

If during a review an agency is found to be out of compliance with civil rights requirements, the agency must permanently correct the deficiencies. 

Requirements for Reasonable Accommodation of Persons with Disabilities

Agencies that employ 15 or more individuals must designate at least one person to coordinate compliance with disability requirements. This position is often referred to as the Section 504 Coordinator. The Section 504 Coordinator, who is responsible for addressing requests for accommodations in the center or DCH, may also ensure compliance with disability requirements related to meals and the meal service. It is not required to designate a separate Section 504 Coordinator responsible only for meal modifications.

For information regarding meal accommodations and the governing statutes for persons with disabilities, refer to Section 8.1.

Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility

A qualified person with a disability may not be excluded from the program, or subjected to discrimination. An agency may not restrict access for participants with disabilities to programs, services, and activities because of architectural or equipment barriers, or the need for related aids and services and auxiliary aids. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Title II are based upon the premise that participants with disabilities will be integrated with their nondisabled peers as much as possible.

An agency shall operate its program or activity so that when each part is viewed in its entirety, it is readily accessible to disabled persons. If parts of an agency’s facility are not accessible, that agency must offer comparable access to a person with a disability. Every part of a facility must be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.

Requirements for Language Assistance

Agencies are required to take reasonable steps to assure meaningful access to program information and services for people with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). People with LEP do not speak English as their primary language and have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English.

Factors to consider in addressing LEP include the:

  • Number or proportion of LEP people served or encountered in the eligible population;
  • Frequency with which LEP people come into contact with the program;
  • Nature and importance of the program, activity, or service provided by the program; and
  • Resources available to the agency and the cost of providing translation and interpretive services.

The more frequently an agency has contact with a particular language group, the more likely translations will be needed.

The more important the activity, information, service, or program, the more likely translation and interpretive services are needed. Where appropriate, train bilingual staff to act as interpreters and translators or use qualified translators and interpreters to ensure that inaccurate interpretations do not cause delays or other costs.

There is no numerical threshold that must be met before agencies are required to provide translation services.

Customer Service

Good customer service is an important part of the complaint process. Keep in mind the following tips when handling a complaint:

  • Treat everyone equally
  • Be knowledgeable of rights and responsibilities
  • Evaluate any barriers that prevent or deter anyone from receiving benefits, then eliminate those barriers
  • Be respectful and patient

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution goes hand-in-hand with good customer service. Staff should provide good customer service to help avoid potential civil rights complaints. Keep the following tips in mind when interacting with people:

  • Avoid the desire to place blame
  • Attempt to improve the situation
  • Allow people to communicate their feelings
  • Improve relationships and increase communication
  • Avoid repeating the situation

References: 7 CFR, sections 226.6(b)(2)(vii)(C)(5)(iv), 226.6(b)(4)(iv), 226.23(b), and 226.23(c)(5); MB CACFP CACFP-08-2017 Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program; USDA FNS Instruction 113-1

Questions:   Child and Adult Care Food Programs Branch | 800-952-5609, Option 3
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, June 30, 2021
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