Food Program Manual
Here are some proven steps for a successful Food Program experience. Your Area Coordinator can assist you with any questions.
- Get organized. You will use this information often. Keep it in a convenient place:
- Your Area Coordinator’s name and phone number
- Your WECA Provider Number and your PIN
- The CACFP.Net on line claiming website
- The WECA website for our forms and other resources.
- Enroll all children in your care, even if you will not claim them on the Food Program.
- Complete and submit your direct deposit information right away.
- Become familiar with the CACFP.Net site and any paper forms you must submit.
- Always submit your updated license or certification to the WECA Food Program right away, so we can pay you correctly. We don’t automatically receive these from your regulator.
- Notify your Area Coordinator if you change your address, phone number, email address, days and hours of operation or mealtimes.
- Comply with Food Program policies, which are described here and in your Sponsor/Provider Agreement, to remain in good standing.
How it Works
- Serve all required foods in the correct portions for each child. Refer to the Infant Meal Pattern and the Child Care Meal Pattern for specific information.
- Record which meals and snacks you fed to each child and what foods you fed to them.
Your Area Coordinator can share “best practices” with you – methods for recording food and attendance that have worked for other providers.
- Submit your claim by the 5th of the month after the claim month.
- Submit all new Child Enrollment forms, Parent/Provider Formula Agreements, Special Diet Statements, Special Dietary Needs Tracking forms, and Special Needs forms. These must also be received by the 5th of the month following the claim month
- Fulfill the annual training requirement.
- Complete at least three (3) home visits with your Area Coordinator.
- Submit your annual child re-enrollment information.
- File and store three (3) years (plus the current year) of your Food Program records.
How to Enroll Children
Children from birth through 12 years old can be enrolled in the Food Program. A Child Enrollment Form must be submitted with the first claim that includes a new child.
Enrolling an Infant (a child less than 1 year old):
- The Child Enrollment Form must be accompanied by a Parent/Provider Formula Agreement. Not all formulas are approved by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). If an infant requires a formula that is not approved, a Medical Statement is required from a qualified medical authority. You must also submit the Special Dietary Needs Tracking Form.
Enrolling Your Own Child:
- If you meet income standards, you may be paid for meals and snacks served to your own residential child or foster child. The proper application must be submitted and approved by the Food Program office. At least one child in care must be served at the same meal or snack.
Enrolling a Person 13 Years or Older with Special Needs:
- Children can be claimed on the Food Program until they reach their 13th birthday. Persons 13 years or older may be claimed if they are verified as having special needs and if the provider is approved to provide care for persons over 13. A Verification of Special Needs form must be completed and signed by the proper authority.
Special Dietary Needs/Preferences:
- Sometimes children can’t be served a required meal component due to a special dietary need or a disability. A parent may also request that a child receive an approved milk substitute due to lifestyle preference.
- Depending on the circumstances, a Special Diet Form completed by the parent OR a Medical Statement completed by the appropriate medical authority must be submitted to the Food Program office. You must also submit a Special dietary Needs Tracking Form.
Important things to know:
- The Food Program is available to all children in care without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability.
- You will give each parent/guardian a letter describing Food Program benefits and their right to receive them (or you can post this information where all families can see it). Parents will then complete an enrollment form for each of their children.
- Whether a parent accepts or declines the Food Program, a Child Enrollment Form must be submitted for each child receiving care in your home. WECA will contact parents who decline, to verify that they are aware of the Food Program and that their child is eligible to participate.
Rates and Payment Levels
Reimbursement rates for meals and snacks are based on a two-tiered system determined by USDA. When you enroll in the Food Program, WECA will determine your correct rate. Tier I rates are assigned to low-income areas, providers, or children. Rates for each meal are adjusted by USDA every July. We will notify you of each rate change.
Currently, you will receive the following reimbursement for each meal served.
Note: Rates effective July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024.
- A maximum of two meals + one snack or two snacks + one meal per child per day can be reimbursed.
- Submit your monthly claim after you serve the last meal or snack for that month. Claims received by the 5th of the next month will be processed on time. Claims received after the 5th may be processed one month later. Payment cannot be made for claims received 30 or more days after the original due date. See our Payment Schedule.
Example: If your claim for March is received on time (by April 5), it will be processed during April, and you will receive your deposit in early May. Direct deposits usually occur on the first working day of the month. To find out the specific deposit date, call 800-783-9322.
Review your claim summary online at CACFP.Net every month to see if you lost payment due to errors. If you have questions about your claim summary, contact your Area Coordinator. Your Area Coordinator can help you avoid claiming errors.
Questions regarding your payment
You can request an adjustment to your reimbursement if you believe you’ve been paid incorrectly by submitting a Claim Adjustment Form. The form and any necessary documentation must be received by the 15th of the month in which the reimbursement was received. Adjustments cannot be made for late claims or for late or incorrect forms such as tier documentation.
Your reimbursement from the Food Program is considered taxable income. Consider talking with your own tax professional or consulting other financial resources to learn how to report your Food Program income.
Home Visits and Annual Training
When you joined the Food Program, you agreed to have your Area Coordinator visit at least three times per year during your working hours. Your visit will usually be unannounced.
It is important to contact your Area Coordinator and update your contact information (phone/email address) periodically, because some visits may be conducted by phone. Even if there are no children in care on a given day, a visit may occur if your child care business is open.
During a visit, your Area Coordinator will:
- Answer questions you may have about the Food Program.
- Observe your child care practice, including a meal or snack that is served to children.
- Review your current menus, attendance records, forms, and past claims.
- Check for sanitation and safety in areas where food is stored, prepared, and served.
- Record their observations on a Home Visit Form and provide a copy to you by email.
- Confirm your annual training requirement.
- When visiting your child care site, your Area Coordinator will always carry a WECA photo ID. You can ask to see identification before agreeing to the visit.
- If you will be away from home during a meal or snack time, or if you change your mealtime schedule, notify your Area Coordinator by 7:00 that morning. If you don’t call ahead, and the Area Coordinator attempts a home visit, you will lose the payment for that meal or snack.
- Providers enrolled in the Food Program are required to complete an annual training requirement by September 30th of each year. New providers in their first year of the Food Program are not required to complete this training.
Important Policies and Procedures
- Always keep good records and have them available for your Area Coordinator. If records are not available, all meals and snacks not recorded must be deducted.
- Menus and meal counts (which must include the child’s name or number) must be recorded online by the end of each business day.
- State attendance records cannot be substituted for meal counts.
The WECA Food Program follows these policies you should be aware of:
- Improvement Plan/Technical Assistance
When a situation involving the Food Program in your childcare home needs to change, an Improvement Plan/Technical Assistance is developed for you. The Area Coordinator outlines the plan on the Home Visit Review Form, including a description of the goal, steps to be taken to accomplish the goal, and the date for completion. Common situations address sanitation, food storage, record keeping, attendance records, or Menus and Attendance Forms that aren’t current and readily available.
- Warning Letter/Corrective Action Plan
If an Improvement Plan does not result in the needed change, a Warning Letter may be issued, and a Corrective Action letter may be written.
- Serious Deficiency Notice
If the issue still has not been corrected, a Notice of Serious Deficiency is issued. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including being unresponsive and/or unavailable for a home visit, a pattern of not keeping menu/attendance records on a daily basis, or claiming children for meals/snacks for which they were not present. If this notice is issued, the change must be made immediately. Otherwise, a Notice of Proposed Termination and Proposed Disqualification for Cause is sent.
- Notice of Proposed Termination and Proposed Disqualification for Cause
When all else fails, and no cooperation or change is made in the childcare home, a Notice of Proposed Termination and Proposed Disqualification for Cause will be sent. A Provider is sent their appeal rights. If the provider does not appeal or loses the appeal, the provider will be removed from the program for seven (7) years, and in some cases, repayment of food program funds will be required.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
December 2022 | Diciembre 2022
November 2022 | Noviembre 2022
October 2022 | Octubre 2022
September 2022 | Septiembre 2022
Annual Training Documents
Special Dietary Needs Requests and Special Needs Verification
Documents to Complete for Disability Related Special Dietary Needs Requests: “A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more ‘major life activities’ including caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, eating, breathing, digestive, bowel and bladder, neurological, respiratory, circulatory, and endocrine functions.”
- Special Dietary Needs Tracking Form Section 1: Disability (For Providers to Complete)
- Medical Statement (For Licensed Health Care Professionals to Complete: Physician, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner (APNP), Dentist, Optometrist, or Podiatrist)
Documents to Complete for Non-Disability Special Dietary Needs Requests: i.e., for preference, including religious or ethnic preferences, or lifestyle reasons.
- Special Dietary Needs Tracking Form Section II: Non-disability Special Dietary Need (SDN) Request (For Providers to Complete)
- SPECIAL DIET FORM (For Providers to Complete)
Special Needs Verification: