Throughout the pandemic, USDA has been issuing flexibilities for operating the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) through what they call COVID-19 Nationwide Waivers. These flexibilities are intended to ensure children in CACFP-participating programs are still able to access nutritious meals during these difficult times.
On April 20, 2021, USDA issued another set of waivers for CACFP.
Big news: Nationwide Waiver of Area Eligibility allows all family child care homes, regardless of their location, to receive the Tier 1 reimbursement rate for all meals and snacks. This will be effective July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. This means Tier 2 providers all become Tier 1, for this period!
More big news: Nationwide Waiver to Allow Specific Meal Pattern Flexibility delays the full implementation of grains ounce equivalents from October 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
What happens next?
As with all of these waivers throughout the pandemic, the states need to choose to use these waivers. But that process is simple! They just tell their Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) regional office that they plan to use it. Most states have opted in for all the waivers throughout the public health crisis. USDA tracks which states have “opted in” here. Be sure your state agency knows about these new waivers and that you support them opting in and why.
Need the details on each waiver? Here are the links:
- Nationwide Waiver of Area Eligibility in the Afterschool Programs and for Family Day Care Home Providers in School Year 2021-2022
- Nationwide Waiver to Allow Specific Meal Pattern Flexibility in the Child and Adult Care Food Program for School Year 2021-2022
- Nationwide Waiver to Allow Non-Congregate Meal Service for School Year 2021-2022
- Nationwide Waiver of Meal Time Requirements for School Year 2021-2022
- Nationwide Waiver to Allow Parents and Guardians to Pick Up Meals for Children for School Year 2021-2022
- Nationwide Waiver of Onsite Monitoring Requirements for State Agencies in the Child and Adult Care Food Program – EXTENSION 3
- Nationwide Waiver of Monitoring Requirements for Sponsors in the Child and Adult Care Food Program – EXTENSION
USDA continues to listen to child care providers, sponsors and others in our community to ensure you can still participate in this program and provide nutritious meals to children. We appreciate these action steps from USDA based on the real needs of the community! Family child care educators, if you are not currently in the food program we encourage you to check it out and sign up.