CACFP is moving from CDE to CDSS: Let's make sure we don't get lost in transition
Sample Comments & Instructions for
CDSS Child Care Transfer Contract Survey
Background: This year, the Governor signed a budget that (among many other things) will transfer many child care and development programs to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). This includes the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and is set to become effective on July 1, 2021.
Why Comment? CDSS is going through an intentional transition process to collect stakeholder feedback and input. Most of the discussions to date are centered around the state’s large child care programs. We don’t want CACFP to be lost in this transition! We know CDSS wants to hear from us – let’s use this opportunity to establish open lines of communications and foster a healthy partnership.
Instructions: There are two upcoming opportunities to communicate your needs, thoughts, and concerns about the CACFP transition to CDSS: (1) CDSS has an open survey on contracts that is closing this Friday (October 23), and (2) the Roundtable is hosting a CDSS CACFP Listening Session at our upcoming conference.
The Roundtable has developed sample comments for you and your superiors to copy and paste into the CDSS survey. Here’s how:
Answer the survey questions as you see fit.
Personalize these sample comments and make it your own!
Copy and paste your comments into CDSS’s survey in the appropriate “Additional Comments/Suggestions” sections.
Survey closes on Friday, 10/23/20.
Follow this link to take the survey >> https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3WW6S
Questions and Sample Comments
1. What are the most critical equity issues related to contracts? Please select all responses that you agree with.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a critical resource that meets the nutritional needs of children and adults facing or at risk of facing food insecurity. Furthermore, the program provides incredibly valuable financial resources to child care and adult care providers. In addition to making care programs healthier, more affordable for families with low incomes, and more financially sustainable for providers, research has shown that CACFP is also linked to improved quality of care. This program was built to help address inequities in food access and indeed, it serves an important role. However, the overly burdensome administrative processes, including contracts can interfere with the reach and sustainability of the program. There are many areas in California that are underserved by the CACFP. For example, as a result of inadequate resources and lack of technical/supportive assistance, many child care providers in rural and highly congested urban areas, in addition to Family Friend & Neighbor (FFN) providers, lack access to the program. Simplified and streamlined contracts; supportive capacity building and technical assistance from the state; increased utilization of technology; and additional dollars to support equitable outreach could help advance equity goals within the CACFP.
2. What changes would lead to a more streamlined contracting process? Please select all responses that you agree with.
The complexity of CACFP requirements creates unique administrative challenges for the child care homes, centers, and agencies that are responsible for delivering the Program’s essential benefits to children. In 2015, the national CACFP Paperwork Reduction Work Group created recommendations to make the CACFP requirements more efficient, while maintaining program integrity. We strongly urge CDSS to review the resources of this work group (https://www.fns.usda.gov/cacfp/streamlinecacfp-resource-center) and to work with the CACFP community to identify opportunities for contract simplification in California.
Furthermore, it would be of great benefit to families and program operators if there was improved connection between CACFP and licensing and Alternative Payment programs.
3. What contracting changes would enhance access and equity for parents, particularly the underserved? Please select all responses that you agree with.
The CACFP is a program distinctly designed for children and providers (often parents) in underserved communities. All simplifications and streamlining improvements will have benefits for the entire CACFP community – from sponsors to children. One specific recommendation is to eliminate the yearly burden of reapplying for CACFP by changing the annual child re-enrollment process to simply update-as-needed.
4. What considerations should we prioritize to ensure a smooth contract transition process? Please select all responses that you agree with.
The contracts for CACFP can be very complex and time-consuming. In fact, with ongoing modifications and increased workload as a result of the COVID pandemic, we strongly urge the Department to delay the transition of CACFP for one year. This extra time will ensure a smoother transition for CACFP and prevent unnecessary attrition in the program. Through this entire transition process, we seek open communication, consultation, and partnership between CDSS and CACFP. One way to ensure connectedness to the issues and voices from the field is to actively participate in the CCFP Roundtable meetings.