Field Services is responsible for providing training and technical assistance and for conducting administrative reviews to ensure that Child Nutrition Programs at the local level are operated in accordance with federal rules and regulations. There are ten field advisors located throughout the Commonwealth who visit sponsors of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). They report to Regional Supervisors in Harrisburg.
In the National School Lunch Program federal regulations require the Department of Education to conduct administrative reviews of sponsors at least once during each five-year review cycle.
In the Child and Adult Care Food Program, federal regulations require the Department of Education to conduct administrative reviews of 33.3 percent of all institutions annually.
During the review, we look at activities for one month (called the test month) in a specified number of buildings or sites.
THE REVIEW PROCESS
The following areas are evaluated during a review of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or a Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP):
- Free and Reduced-Price Eligibility
Applications for free and reduced-price meals are reviewed to ensure that children are receiving benefits in the correct category. In the CACFP, enrollment documents are also reviewed to verify that only meals served to enrolled children are claimed for reimbursement.
- Meal Patterns
Menus are evaluated to ensure that meals claimed for reimbursement contain all required items.
- Counting Systems
The counting system used to determine the number of paid, free and reduced-price meals claimed for reimbursement is evaluated to ensure that meals are counted at the point of service.
- Food Quantity
Portion sizes of food offered are examined to ensure that the meals meet the minimum quantities or the planned portion sizes.
- Civil Rights
Field advisors ensure that there is no discrimination in enrollment or in the service of meals and that the approved non-discrimination poster is displayed to recipients. Advisors ensure that procedures have been established to receive complaints alleging discrimination and that children with disabilities are provided program benefits as prescribed by regulations.
- Monitoring Responsibilities
In the NSLP, sponsors with more than one building are required to conduct on-site reviews of the buildings under their jurisdiction at least once prior to February 1 of each year. Field advisors look for documentation of those visits.
In the CACFP, sponsors are required to conduct staff training annually and are required to conduct monitoring visits at least 3 times each year with not more than 6 months between visits. Field advisors look for documentation of the training and monitoring visits.
- Reporting and Recordkeeping
Field advisors verify that sponsors keep necessary records on file to support their claims for reimbursement. Records must be kept for 3 years after the final claim for reimbursement for that fiscal year is paid or until resolution of any audit findings.
- Free and Reduced-Price Process (NSLP sponsors only)
The verification of free and reduced-price applications procedure is evaluated to ensure that the appropriate number of applications are selected for verification and that any changes to eligibility category, which resulted from the verification process, are made within the required time frames.
- The School Meals Initiative (NSLP sponsors only)
During the School Meals Initiative (SMI) Review, the field advisor does or reviews a nutrient analysis of menus to ensure that schools are making a good faith effort to serve meals that are consistent with the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- Food Service Operating Costs and Administrative Costs (CACFP sponsors only)
Food costs and operating costs are analyzed to document that all costs incurred are directly related to the CACFP and qualify as eligible expense items. Sponsors of family day care homes must have documentation to support the amount of administrative costs claimed each month. Advisors also verify that the amount received for meals is distributed to providers within five (5) days of receipt.