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CACFP Administrative Manual Section 14.2

Child and Adult Care Food Program Administrative Manual Section 14.2: Day Care Home Sponsor Recordkeeping.
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.

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Terms, Definitions, and Acronyms

Section 14 Recordkeeping

Section 14.2: Day Care Home Sponsor Recordkeeping

Accurate recordkeeping and proper documentation are extremely important for agencies participating in the CACFP because they are the basis for all claims for reimbursement, audits, and administrative reviews.

DCH sponsors and providers must retain all records for a minimum of three years after the end of the program year (PY) to which they pertain or until audit and administrative review issues are resolved. For example, sponsors and providers must keep records for PY 2017–18 (October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018) until at least October 1, 2021. These records may then be disposed of only if there are no unresolved audit findings, administrative review issues, or the DCH sponsor or provider are not under investigation.

In the event of an earthquake, flood, or fire, or other disaster type event, evidence of enrollment documentation, eligibility, and meal counts is required. Sponsors and providers must keep these records even if they are illegible from water, fire, or other type of damage. If the documents are completely lost, sponsors and providers must have a record of the disaster to document their loss, such as an insurance or police report. If the records are lost or damaged, DCH providers must immediately notify their sponsor, and the sponsor must immediately notify their assigned CACFP DCH Specialist.

Providers must maintain current PY records pertaining to the CACFP in their home and make them available for review during normal business hours. The prior three years records can be maintained offsite, but must be readily available if needed. In addition, sponsors must retain all original records at their business office, where they must be available for review during normal business hours. Failure to maintain records to support claims may result in the denial of administrative and meal reimbursement and jeopardize a sponsor’s participation in the CACFP.

Sponsor Records

Sponsors must have a recordkeeping system in place to retain documents that support all administrative costs and reimbursement payments they receive through their participation in the CACFP.

In addition, all records must be readily available when requested for review or audit by representatives of the CDE or the USDA.

Required Records

The records that sponsors must retain include:

  • Annual training attendance of each staff member involved in the CACFP DCH operation

  • Copies of all applications and supporting documents submitted to the CDE

  • Copies of all menus

  • Copies of invoices, receipts, and any other financial records to document income to the CACFP, administrative costs claimed by the sponsor, and payments made to providers

  • Copies of records, such as personnel activity reports, that document and justify the costs that are allocated to the CACFP

  • Daily records indicating the number of participants in attendance and the daily meal counts, by type, served to enrolled children

  • Documentation for provider tiering determinations

  • Documentation of the enrollment of each child with a provider

  • Monitoring review reports

  • Training session dates and locations information, topics presented, and the names of participants

Provider Records

Required Records

The records that providers must retain include:

  • License documentation of current status, or authorization to operate
  • Enrollment documents
  • Attendance documentation
  • Meal counts
  • Documentation from families declining participation
  • Menus

This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of required DCH sponsor and provider records. For more information, please contact your CACFP DCH Specialist. A list of CACFP DCH Specialists by county is on the CDE CACFP Contact Web page.

Submitting Records to the Sponsor

Sponsors must ensure that providers complete original records by the end of each day for: meal counts, menus, attendance, and enrollment. These documents must be submitted to the DCH sponsor before the completion of the sponsor’s consolidated monthly reimbursement claim into the CNIPS.

Sponsors may choose to collect records from the providers more frequently to verify that records are current and correct. Collecting records more frequently helps the provider understand and correct any identified mistakes prior to sponsor’s completion and submission of the sponsor’s claim.

Providers that do not enter menu and meal data into an online Sponsor Meal Administrative System (SMAS) by the end of the calendar day must keep a copy of both their daily paper records and the electronic records, even after entering the data into the SMAS beyond the calendar day. Providers that do not complete the data entry the same calendar day must send all of the original paper records to their sponsor when they submit their monthly claim. For example, if a provider keeps daily paper records and enters that information into the SMAS once a week, the provider must make a copy of the daily paper records, keep them for the required retention period, and send the original records to their sponsor with their monthly claim. The daily paper records are considered the source documents. However, if a provider keeps paper records during the day and transfers that information into a SMAS that same calendar day, they do not need to retain the original paper records. In this case, the electronic records entered the same calendar day serve as the original record and must be retained for the required retention period.

References: 7 CFR, sections 226.10(d), 226.15(e), 226.16(e) 226.18(b)(1), and 226.18(g); MB NSD-CACFP-11-2012: Retention of Source Documents for Meal Counts, MB USDA-CACFP-05-2010: Record Retention Requirements for DCH Providers

Questions:   Child and Adult Care Food Programs Branch | 800-952-5609, Option 3
Last Reviewed: Monday, June 28, 2021
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