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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Marshall

Am I going to get in trouble? Perspectives of serious deficiency in the CACFP heard in the Deliberative Forum + proposed rule information

Last month the CACFP community came together to discuss how serious deficiency works in their current CACFP world and how elements of the proposed rule might help or hinder making CACFP a more appealing, equitable, and accessible program.

Overview of Deliberative Forum #2: Serious Deficiency in the CACFP

Over one-hundred community members across the nation joined the CACFP Roundtable to have an open discussion about the Serious Deficiency process. The issue brief provided background knowledge and guidance for the discussion. USDA FNS and CDSS CACFP Branch introduced themselves and shared they were looking forward to hearing directly from the community about this topic, ahead of the closure of the comment period of the proposed rule. Then we launched into a two-hour discussion about the current process and talked a bit about the proposed rule itself.

The main themes that arose were:

  • fear of getting in trouble for providing too much technical assistance,

  • that the consequences of the serious deficiency process are too severe,

  • there should be a grace period to learn this complicated program, and

  • some positive reactions to the proposed rule, but also hesitancy to fully support it

Take a look at the one-pager for the main themes that surfaced during the conversation.

More About the Proposed Rule: Serious Deficiency in CACFP and SFSP

The public comment period closes on May 21st and we all need to comment!

On May 10th at 10:00 a.m. pacific, CACFP Roundtable will be hosting a meeting to provide information and resources to help you be comfy with sharing your public comment with USDA FNS. Register here.

We will also be publishing blog posts digging in a bit deeper to the below sections of the proposed rule.

Below are a few highlights of what is in the proposed rule.

  1. The severity of the problem

  2. The degree of responsibility attributable to the program operator

  3. The program operator's history of participation and training in CACFP

  4. The nature of the requirements that relate to the problem

  5. The degree to which the problem impact program integrity

Additionally, the proposed rule removes the specific list of items that could trigger serious deficiency for a program operator.

These are the lists: Homes List, Institutions List

  • The initial trigger for serious deficiency would be called a serious management problem instead of serious deficiency. Aside from changing terminology in notices, this does not change the process.

  • The proposed rule removes temporary deferral and allows a stated path toward being fully corrected. This means that after corrective action has taken place and certain period of time a family child care home, institution, unaffiliated center, and/or summer food service program can be fully corrected and if the same mistake is made the operator would not be terminated for cause and placed on the National Disqualified List.

  • Requires state agencies to immediately suspend Institutions for false claims, currently it is an option. There would not be an option for corrective action, only termination for cause with an option to appeal, and if the appeal is not won by the Institution, placement on the National Disqualified List.

  • Expands the serious deficiency process to sponsored unaffiliated centers and summer food service programs.

  • Further defines and places regulations, outside of the serious deficiency process, for Multi-State Sponsoring Organizations (MSSO).


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