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CACFP Administrative Manual Section 13.1

Child and Adult Care Food Program Administrative Manual Section 13.1: Monitoring, Preapproval Visits, and Edit Checks.

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Terms, Definitions, and Acronyms

Section 13: Day Care Home and Center Sponsor Responsibilities

Section 13.1 Monitoring, Preapproval Visits, and Edit Checks

Monitoring Requirements

Sponsors must document monitoring visits to centers and DCHs, noting compliance areas reviewed, compliance issues found, and corrective actions required.

During the monitoring visit, a center sponsor will complete Form ID CACFP 16: Center Monitoring Review Report, and a DCH sponsor will complete Form ID DCH 13: Provider Monitoring Review Report. Both forms are located in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS.

Sponsors may monitor centers or DCHs using a regular schedule or review averaging.

Monitoring—Regular Schedule

All sponsors that do not use review averaging (see the Monitoring—Review Averaging Schedule section below for more information) must conduct on-site monitoring visits to each sponsored center or DCH provider at least three times per year. A year is defined as a consecutive 12 month period that may coincide with the program year of October 1 through September 30.

Regular schedule site monitoring requirements are as follows:

  • Each center or DCH provider must be monitored three times per year.
  • Two of the three monitoring visits must be unannounced.
  • One of the unannounced visits must include a meal observation.
  • The timing of unannounced visits must be varied so that they are unpredictable to the center or DCH provider.
  • A new center or DCH provider must be monitored within the first four weeks of operation.
  • No more than six months may elapse between monitoring visits.
Monitoring—Review Averaging Schedule

If a sponsor conducts two unannounced visits to one of its sites and finds no serious deficiencies, the sponsor may skip the third visit to the site, provided that it averages three reviews per year for all of its sites. Review averaging allows sponsors to focus more attention on centers or DCH providers that need more assistance with program compliance. Sponsors may not use review averaging to avoid a third monitoring visit to a center or DCH that is far in geographic distance, or has late meal service times, etc.

Review averaging site monitoring requirements are as follows:

  • The total number of reviews per year must equal three times the number of sponsored centers.
  • Sponsors must conduct a minimum of two reviews to each center. The first must be unannounced and if no serious deficiencies are found during the first unannounced review, the second may be announced or unannounced so long as the sponsor averages two unannounced reviews per center, per year.
  • For centers receiving two reviews in one year, their first review in the next year must occur no more than nine months after the previous review.
  • Sponsors must develop a written Review Averaging Plan prior to implementing review averaging. This plan must be made available to the CDE for administrative review.
  • Example: A sponsor with four centers must conduct a total of 12 reviews, 8 of which must be unannounced, each year. If Center 1 is outstanding in its management of the CACFP, and Center 2 has a history of problems in managing the CACFP, the monitoring schedule under review averaging might look like this:
    • Center 1: Two reviews, one unannounced
    • Center 2: Four reviews, three unannounced
    • Center 3: Three reviews, two unannounced
    • Center 4: Three reviews, two unannounced
Five-Day Meal Reconciliation

Regardless of the monitoring schedule a sponsor uses, the sponsor must conduct a five-day reconciliation during the visit to gauge the accuracy of meals claimed. The monitor will select five consecutive days during the current and/or prior claiming period and use enrollment documents and attendance records to determine the number of children attending each meal service. They will then reconcile those numbers with the meal counts. ARA centers, SA centers, and emergency shelters are not required to maintain enrollment documents and will instead reconcile meal counts to attendance records.

Daily meal counts should not exceed the center’s or DCH provider’s enrollment or attendance. For example, if a center’s enrollment is 55 and the attendance for a given day is 50, the meal count for each meal type claimed that day should not exceed 50.

If the five-day reconciliation uncovers meal count findings or other program issues with the center’s or DCH provider’s operation, the sponsor must take appropriate action to correct the problems. Otherwise, uncorrected findings may cause the NSD to designate the sponsor as seriously deficient, which may result in termination of its participation in the CACFP.

For more information regarding the five day reconciliation process, refer to USDA Policy Memorandum CACFP 10-2018: Conducting Five-day Reconciliation in the CACFP, with Questions and Answers, located on the USDA CACFP Policy Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Follow-Up Reviews

If a sponsor finds one or more serious deficiencies during a monitoring review, the next visit to the center or DCH provider must be unannounced.

Household Contacts

Sponsors must have established household contacts procedures listing the circumstances when the household contacts are conducted in order to verify the enrollment and attendance of the children in care and the specific meals that are routinely served to those children. The requirement for household contacts does not apply to ADC centers, emergency shelters, ARA centers, or SA centers.

Regulations require sponsors to conduct household contacts when the center or DCH provider:

  • Claims more meals than participants enrolled or in attendance;
  • Claims weekend or holiday meals without the documentation of enrollment or attendance records;
  • Claims a uniform number of meals, which raises suspicion about the center’s or DCH provider’s claiming practices;
  • Reports that one or more participants are never absent from care; OR
  • Consistently reports higher attendance figures than are verified during monitoring visits.

Preapproval Visits

Sponsors must conduct preapproval (PA) visits to all new centers and DCH providers to discuss program benefits and verify that the proposed food service does not exceed the capability of the center or DCH provider.

PA visits are not required for centers operating under the Summer Food Service Program that have already received preapproval visits. In addition, SFAs are not required to conduct preapproval visits to school sites participating in the National School Lunch Program.

To document PA visits, centers may use CACFP Form ID 86: PA Site Visit Form for Sponsors located in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS.

Edit Checks

Before filing the monthly reimbursement claim, a sponsor must conduct an edit check for each center and DCH provider and maintain documentation that the edit check was performed. The edit check consists of two steps.

  • Sponsors must verify that each center or DCH provider is approved to serve the meals that it is claiming. CACFP sponsors must ensure that each center or DCH provider claims only the meals approved on the center’s or DCH provider’s site application and that the claim is within the limit.

    • CC centers, SA centers, ADC centers, and DCH providers may claim a maximum of two meals and one snack or two snacks and one meal, per participant, per day.

    • ARA centers may claim a maximum of one meal and/or one snack per participant, per day.

    • Emergency shelters may claim a maximum of two meals and one snack, two snacks and one meal, or three meals per participant, per day.

  • Sponsors must calculate the maximum number of meals at any meal service that a center or DCH provider may claim during a month. To make this calculation, a sponsor must multiply the center or DCH provider enrollment by the number of operating days by the number of claimed meal types. For example, a center with an enrollment of 30 that operated for 20 days during the claim month and claimed three meal types (breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack) would have a maximum number of 600 meals at each meal service—and a total of 1,800 meals that the center may claim. If the center claimed 600 or fewer meals for each meal type and 1,800 or fewer total meals, then the center’s meal claim passes the edit check.

Because SA centers, ARA centers, and emergency shelters are not required to maintain enrollment documents, these centers must use numbers other than enrollment (such as licensed capacity) in their edit claim process.

If the sponsor identifies findings, the sponsor must assess the frequency and severity of the finding to determine the course of action. The sponsor may decide that further training and oversight will correct the finding, particularly if the center or DCH provider is new to the CACFP.

References: 7 CFR, Section 226.16; MB CACFP-09-2019 Monitoring Requirements for Participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, MB CACFP-04-2018: Conducting a Five-day Reconciliation in the CACFP, MB USDA-CACFP-10-2011 Varied Timing of Unannounced Reviews in the CACFP, MB NSD-CACFP-02-2007 Second Interim Rule: Household Contacts, and MB 06-208 Sponsor Monitoring of Facilities in the CACFP; USDA Policy Memo CACFP 10-2018 Conducting Five-day Reconciliation in the CACFP, with Questions and Answers

Questions:   Kayla Christensen | | 916-324-6153
Last Reviewed: Friday, June 12, 2020
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