CACFP Administrative Manual Section 4.2

Child and Adult Care Food Program Administrative Manual Section 4.2 Determining Area Eligibility.

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Terms, Definitions, and Acronyms

Section 4: Day Care Home Reimbursement Determination

4.2 Determining Area Eligibility

Providers that are located in low-income areas qualify for Tier I reimbursement based on area eligibility.

School Data

A provider can be categorized as Tier I if the home is located within the attendance area of an elementary, middle, or high school at which at least 50 percent of the enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals (FRPM). The school must be the assigned elementary, middle or high school for the attendance area. To document a provider’s eligibility for Tier I reimbursement using school data, sponsors must perform the following procedure:

  • Obtain current, official school boundary-identifying maps or lists of addresses, either electronically from the district’s website or in hard copy, located within a school’s attendance area. Match the provider’s address to the maps’ boundaries or lists. If maps or lists are unavailable, contact school officials to verify the attendance area of the elementary, middle, or high schools that serve the provider. Request either a letter from school officials on school or district letterhead identifying provider addresses that fall within the school’s attendance area or prepare a memorandum documenting phone contacts with school officials. Include the official’s name, title, and contact information. Date and sign or initial the memorandum.
  • The California Department of Education publishes the FRPM data for each public school and only the most current data may be used for the eligibility determination. Find the determining school name on the FRPM spreadsheet and then confirm the FRPM percentage using the column titled “Percent (%) Eligible FRPM (K-12).

If more than 50 percent of enrolled students are eligible for FRPMs at the elementary, middle, or high school, then the home can be categorized as Tier I.

Census Data

At the start of every federal fiscal year, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) releases a special tabulation of data provided by the Census Bureau that establishes area eligibility in the CACFP. Sponsors may use this data to make area eligibility determinations by accessing the FNS Area Eligibility Mapping Tool. Instructions for using the mapping tool are included on the web page.

Duration of Area Eligibility Determination

Determinations of area eligibility for Tier I reimbursement, either by school or census data, are valid from the first day of the month in which they are made and are valid for five years, (i.e., 60 calendar months), from the original date of determination. For example, if a sponsor certifies a provider’s eligibility on March 29, 2023, the determination is valid effective March 1, 2023, to February 28, 2028.

A sponsor must retain documentation of the method used to make the determination of area eligibility for Tier I reimbursement.

Reference: 7 CFR Sections 226.2, Tier I day care home (b), 226.4(e), 226.23(e)(1), 226.13(c), 226.15(e)(3), 226.15(f); MB NSD-CACFP-07-2013 Free and Reduced-price Meals Data File; and USDA’s Family Day Care Homes.

Questions: A list of program specialists that can assist is found on the CACFP Contact List.

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