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Do's and Don'ts of CACFP Management

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Do’s and Don’ts of CACFP Management

Whether you’re submitting a Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) reimbursement claim or planning for a review session, it’s easy to make mistakes. These mistakes can greatly reduce your food program reimbursement. Follow these tips to ensure your food program runs smoothly and you get the maximum CACFP reimbursement.

CACFP Management Tip #1: Do have up to date and complete enrollment records. 

Schedule time every month to review records so they’re always up-to-date. Performing regular record checks and audits will help prevent problems when you prepare claims, receive questions about them, or get notice of a CACFP review.

Don’t claim meals for participants whose records are missing, out of date, or inaccurate.

The most common CACFP mistakes are related to enrollment records. Centers claim meals for participants whose records are missing, out-of-date, or incomplete. Centers also frequently report incorrect enrollment counts on their claims, which is usually a result of human error. 

CACFP Management Tip #2: Do make sure income eligibility records are complete and accurate. 

Develop defined processes and procedures for income eligibility records. Make sure participants are in the correct income category and ensure income eligibility forms are complete with all necessary information.

Don’t neglect tracking income eligibility categorization as it can affect your reimbursement. 

Many centers don’t track the income eligibility categorizations as carefully as they should. This causes eligibility-related mistakes to happen all too often. If reviewers have questions about eligibility, your reimbursements can be reduced. Additionally, you may be required to pay back any reimbursements for claims supported by incorrect forms. 

CACFP Management Tip #3: Do have a system in place for accurately recording meal counts at the point of service. 

Have a policy that ensures the person who records meals and attendance understands CACFP requirements and follows a set protocol. Additionally, utilize CACFP software for CACFP management. If you don’t have software for recording meal counts, CACFP Solutions can step in to help.

Don’t try to estimate meal counts later. 

People don’t have perfect memories and estimating counts could lead to inconsistencies. Never claim meals that can’t be supported by documented proof.

CACFP Management Tip #4: Do record exactly what is served at each meal and how food is acquired on the meal production record. 

Have a procedure in place for ensuring your food service staff records what is served every day, along with how and where they access the foods they supply.

Don’t leave off meal components, CN labels, milk serving information, purchase records, etc. 

Sometimes, staff may not accurately record what they serve at each meal or document purchase records to back-up the menu items. Do you need assistance with food production records? CACFP Solutions can help. CACFP Solutions offer simple-to-use software along with expert support services to ensure your kitchen staff can focus on what’s important while maintaining complete food service records, so you can ensure your CACFP management is streamlined. 

CACFP Management Tip #5: Establish a financial system that records CACFP revenue/expenses independent of other revenue/expenses. 

This will prevent your center from trying to claim non-CACFP expenses.  Ensure you have written policies and establish procedures to cover how you handle financial issues in your center.

Don’t claim NON-CACFP expenses as part of your food program reimbursement. 

Claiming expenses for items that are not allowed or considered necessary and reasonable under CACFP rules can negatively affect your reimbursement. Some examples of this are food items that are not CACFP-approved meal components, items not listed on your menu, or non-food items that are not allowable CACFP expenses. 

Following these recommendations will ensure that any audits/reviews of your program reflect favorable on your operation and ensure your continued eligibility. Conversely, failure to follow these guidelines may result in disallowed meals, repayment of reimbursements, or even disqualification.

Need additional help with CACFP food program management?

Need additional help with developing a system to keep track of enrollment records, income eligibility, meal counts, meal production records, and CACFP finances? CACFP Solutions is here to help.

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