USDA published a Final Rule Streamlining Program Requirements and Improving Integrity in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) on September 19, 2022. We’ve summarized the changes and provided a link to read the full publication below.
Sponsors who are new to SFSP but are operating CACFP must go through the same application process as a sponsor that is new to Child Nutrition Programs.
Sponsors who are new to SFSP but are operating CACFP can now use a streamlined application for SFSP. In order to use the streamlined application process, the sponsor needs to be in good standing and serve sites during the summer that they are already sponsoring during the school year.
Sponsors who are new to SFSP but are operating CACFP are required to submit evidence of financial and administrative capability.
Sponsors who are new to SFSP but are operating CACFP are not required to submit further evidence of financial and administrative capability as long as the State agency does not have reason to believe that operation of the SFSP would pose significant challenges.
SFSP sponsors are required to demonstrate financial and administrative but the regulations do not provide metrics or methods for evaluating an applicant’s potential to be viable, capable, and accountable.
USDA is going to add a new section (7 CFR 225.6(d)) which will apply the same sponsor performance standards for CACFP to SFSP. The performance standards for CACFP are found in 7 CFR 226.6 and address: (1) financial viability and financial management, (2) administrative capability, and (3) internal controls and management systems.
Sponsors must conduct a visit in the first week of operations for any new sites and any sites with operational problems in the prior year.
Sponsors have two weeks to do an initial visit of all new sites and any sites that has operational problems in the prior year. State agencies may require initial visits at other sites at their discretion.
Sponsor must conduct a first week visit separately from a food service review.
Sponsors are allowed to combine a first week visit with a food service review.
If the site operates for one week or less, the site visit needs to happen during operations.
Sponsors of vended sites may request an adjustment to the maximum approved level of meal service at any time prior to submitting a claim for reimbursement.
State agencies may consider participation at other similar sites located in the area, documentation of programming taking place at the site, or statistics on the number of children residing in the area when determining an initial SFSP site cap.
State agencies can use statistical monitoring in lieu of site monitoring requirements.
State agencies no longer have the option for statistical monitoring in lieu of site monitoring requirements. (USDA noted that no state agency is doing statistical monitoring so this should have no impact on operations).
When selecting the SFSP sites for review, the state agency must consider:
- The maximum number of meals approved to
- Method of obtaining meals
- Time since last review by the State agency;
- Site type
- Type of physical location
- Rural designation
- Affiliation with the sponsor
- Additional criteria that the State agency finds relevant
State agencies to validate 100 percent of all meal claims from all sites under a sponsor that is being reviewed.
State agencies would initially validate a small sample of claims and would only be required to validate additional claims if they detect claim errors of more than 5%.
Three hours are required to elapse between the beginning of one meal service, including snacks, and the beginning of another, with the exception that four hours must elapse between the service of a lunch and supper when no snack is served between lunch and supper. Further, the regulations state that the service of supper cannot begin later than 7 p.m., unless the State agency has granted a waiver of this requirement due to extenuating circumstances; however, in no case may the service of supper extend beyond 8 p.m. The duration of the meal service is limited to two hours for lunch or supper and one hour for all other meals. These restrictions do not apply to residential camps.
A minimum of one hour must elapse between the end of a meal service and the beginning of another.
All meals must be served during the approved meal service time.
State agencies may approve for reimbursement meals served outside of the approved meal service time if an unanticipated event, outside of the sponsor’s control, occurs.
Breakfast must be served before lunch or supper.
Sponsors must agree to ‘‘maintain children on site while meals are consumed’’.
Participants are allowed to take one item (i.e., either a fruit, vegetable or grain item) off-site for later consumption.
Meals are reimbursable only when served at sites approved by the State agency.
Meals are reimbursable if served away from the approved site without requiring formal approval from the State agencies as long as:
- The sponsor notifies the State agency in advance that meals will be served away from the site. (State agencies will set how far in advance of the field trip sponsors would send notification)
- Open sites to continue operating at the approved open site location while the field trip occurs, if feasible, or notify the community of the change in meal service and provide information about alternative open sites where community children can receive free summer meals.
If the sponsor submits a complete revised claim, the State agency must take final action within 45 calendar days of receipt.
The State agency can take more than 45 calendar days to take final action on a revised claim if the State agency has reason to believe that the sponsor has engaged in unlawful acts that would necessitate an expanded review.
All SFSP sponsors, including sponsors of open sites, camps, and closed enrolled sites, must annually announce the availability of free meals in the media serving the area from which the sponsor draws its attendance.
State agencies can issue a media release on behalf of all sponsors operating SFSP sites, including camps.
State agencies must annually review a sponsor’s tax-exempt status at the time of application.
USDA added definitions for ‘‘self-preparation site’’ and ‘‘vended site,’’ and to require that sponsors and sites include information about how meals will be obtained for each site in their application to participate in the SFSP.
SFSP sties operating as “closed enrolled” must show that 50 percent of the enrolled children at the site are eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the NSLP and the SBP, as determined by approval of applications.
Closed enrolled sites can use area eligibility to determine site eligibility.
USDA added a definition for the term “site supervisor”.
USDA added a definition for “unaffiliated site”.
USDA added a definition for “‘unanticipated school closure”.
USDA added definitions of ‘‘nonprofit food service,’’ ‘‘nonprofit food service account,’’ and ‘‘net cash resources.’’
Added specific language to confirm that USDA has the authority to issue waivers.
Documentation supporting the eligibility of each site as serving an area in which poor economic conditions exist be submitted every three years for open sites and restricted open sites.
Documentation supporting the eligibility of each site as serving an area in which poor economic conditions exist be submitted every five years for open sites and restricted open sites.
Renamed the section title from ‘‘Food Service Management Company Visits’’ to ‘‘Meal Preparation Facility Review’’.