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Disclosure Requirements for the CNPs

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information

To: Community Nutrition Program Operators

Attention: Food Service Directors

Number: CACFP-05-2016; SFSP-04-2016

Date: July 2016

Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Policy Memoranda SP 16-2016; CACFP 06-2016; and SFSP 10-2016: Disclosure Requirements for the Child Nutrition Programs ( External link opens in new window or tab.)

Subject: Disclosure Requirements for the Community Nutrition Programs

This management bulletin (MB) notifies agencies of the restrictions on the disclosure of sensitive information collected through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). This MB supersedes an earlier policy memorandum dated August 23, 2010, Disclosure Requirements for the Child Nutrition Programs, CACFP 17-2010 and SFSP 15-2010. California state laws regarding the disclosure of information are often more restrictive than federal guidelines and must be incorporated in the making of all information-sharing decisions.

For additional details on the sharing of sensitive information collected through School Nutrition Programs, please see MB SNP-15-2016 located on the California Department of Education School Nutrition Programs MB Web page at

Statutory and Regulatory Requirements Limit the Release of Participant Eligibility Information

Section 9(b)(6) of the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) and Title 42, United States Code 1758(b)(6) outline the restrictions on the disclosure and use of information obtained from an application for free or reduced-price (F/RP) meals, as well as the criminal penalties for the improper release of information. The requirements may be found on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Free and Reduced Price Eligibility Web page at External link opens in new window or tab..

FNS recommends that state agencies, local education agencies and, as applicable, CACFP and SFSP sponsors provide information on the pertinent statutory and regulatory provisions in response to requests for the release of student eligibility information.

Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR), implements the NSLA disclosure provisions  as follows:

Program Definition of Disclosure Provisions on Privacy Act Notice and Disclosure to Other Programs
SFSP 7 CFR, Section 225.2 7 CFR, Section 225.15(f)-(1)
CACFP 7 CFR, Section 226.2 7 CFR, sections 226.23(e) and (i)-(n)

Chapter 5 of the USDA Eligibility Manual for School Meals, July 2015 edition, provides specific guidance on applying the statutory and regulatory requirements surrounding disclosure of student eligibility information from the F/RP meals application. The manual is available on the USDA School Meals Web page at External link opens in new window or tab..

Interagency Agreements
  1. Before the state agency administering the community nutrition programs discloses individual student eligibility information with the state agency administering Medicaid and the federal State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) or the agency and the local Medicaid or SCHIP agency, FNS regulations and guidance require that an agreement between agencies be developed in order to facilitate sharing information.
  2. FNS also recommends that an agreement or memorandum of understanding (MOU) be used to share information in all instances where a child’s eligibility information is requested and subsequently approved for release, such as with other federal or state education programs.
  3. An agreement or MOU should detail the procedures for information sharing, persons who will have access to the information, why the information is needed, and so on. Please refer to program regulations at 7 CFR, sections 245.6(j), 225.15(k), and 226.23(m) for more information on agreements.
Need to Know

In addition to being authorized to receive information, those requesting eligibility information must be on a need to know basis which refers to persons determined to be directly connected with the administration or enforcement of a federal education program, state education program, state health program, or a means-tested nutrition program, as well as to persons directly connected with the Comptroller General Office or law enforcement for an authorized activity.

For instance, while federal education programs are authorized, not all persons administering a community nutrition program need to access information (e.g., teachers and cooks). Agencies must ensure that a person receiving a child’s F/RP eligibility information has a legitimate need to know.

Parental Consent for Disclosure of Eligibility Information
  1. Once appropriate agreements are in place with requesting entities, disclosure of all individual eligibility information to any entity may be made if the child’s parent or guardian elects to share the information.
  2. The child’s parent or guardian must provide prior and informed consent by signing a consent for disclosure form. The form must clearly state the purpose of the program or service requesting the data, what level of information will be disclosed, and to whom, as appropriate.
  3. The parent or guardian signed disclosure form permits the agency to disclose the household’s eligibility status or other meal application data, as appropriate, to the requesting recipient of the information.
  4. Disclosure of information forms must be completed annually; consent may not be extended from one program year to the next.
Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact your county’s CACFP Specialist. A list of CACFP Specialists is available in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System, Form ID CACFP 01. You can also contact Community Nutrition Programs Administration Office Technician, by phone at 916-327-2991 or 800-952-5609, Option 3, or by e-mail at to be directed to your CACFP Specialist.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, March 11, 2020
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