Policy Memo 157H

DOH-CACFP: Number 157H (04/11)

TO: CACFP Sponsoring Organizations of Day Care Homes

FROM: Lynne Oudekerk, State Director, Child and Adult Care Food Program

SUBJECT: Changes to the CACFP Income Eligibility Form

I. Purpose and Scope

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the Act), Public Law 111-296, was signed into law by President Obama on December 13, 2010. The Act makes three important changes to participant eligibility. First, the Act updates requirements for the collection of the Social Security Number (SSN) on the Income Eligibility Form (DOH-4160/DOH-4161). Second, it provides categorical Tier I eligibility to foster children. The Act also makes an important change to the process for collecting Income Eligibility Forms from households of children participating in a Tier II Day Care Home. The Act allows Day Care Home Providers to collect Income Eligibility Forms from families of enrolled children and transmit them to their Sponsor. The purpose of this memo is to provide guidance on the implementation of these provisions.

II. Background Information

  1. Social Security Number:
    1. Section 301 of the Act amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act by removing the requirement that the adult household member who signs an Income Eligibility Form must also provide his or her complete SSN, as a condition of eligibility. As amended, CACFP now requires that only the last four digits of the SSN must be provided on the form. The new requirement increases privacy protections for individuals participating in CACFP.
    2. Sponsoring Organizations should begin collecting only the last four digits of the household member's SSN on the Income Eligibility Forms, effective immediately. Until your organization has a supply of the revised forms, this can be accomplished by crossing out the first five digits of the SSN on current Income Eligibility Forms.
  2. Foster Child Categorical Eligibility:
    1. Section 102 of the Act amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to provide categorical eligibility as Tier I, without further application, to any foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or who is placed by a court with a caretaker household. This provision applies to only foster children formally placed by a State child welfare agency or a court. It does not apply to informal arrangements that may exist outside of State- or court-based systems.
    2. This change, which provides categorical Tier I eligibility to foster children, requires changes to the way in which Income Eligibility Forms are handled. Previously, a separate application was submitted for each foster child, who was considered a family of one. Now, the foster child's Tier I eligibility may be documented in one of two ways:

      (1) The foster child can be certified as Tier I eligible based on the submission of an Income Eligibility Form.
      • All foster children will be certified as eligible for Tier I meals regardless of the Tier of the Provider.
      • Households with both foster and non-foster children may include the foster child as a household member, including any personal income earned by the foster child, on the same form that includes their non-foster children. The Sponsor will then make an eligibility determination for the non-foster children based on the household income or other categorical eligibility information reported on the form. This will streamline the application process and may help the foster family's non-foster children qualify for Tier I meals based on household size and income.
      • Foster payments received by the family from the placement agency are not considered income and do not need to be reported as income.
      • The presence of a foster child in the household does not convey Tier I eligibility to all children in the household in the same manner as participation in Food Stamps (also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).

      (2) The foster child can be certified as Tier I eligible without an Income Eligibility Form if the child care site receives documentation from the State or local foster agency that confirms the child's status as a foster child.
  3. Transmission of Household Income Information [Tier II Home Provider Only]
    1. Section 333 of the Act amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to allow Tier II Day Care Home Providers in CACFP to assist in the transmission of household income information from families of enrolled children to their Sponsors. This change applies to only Tier II Providers that choose to have income eligibility determinations conducted on the households of children in care.
    2. Household income information could include one or more of the following:
      (1) A completed Income Eligibility Form for Tier II Day Care Homes (DOH-4160); or
      (2) Information about the categorical eligibility of the household; such as, the receipt of subsidized child care, or participation in the Food Stamp Program, free/reduced-price school meals, Medicaid, and TANF or Public Assistance.
    3. If a Tier II Provider chooses to collect and transmit the household income information, the household must be told the following:
      (1) The household is not required to complete an Income Eligibility Form or provide other income information in order to participate in CACFP; and
      (2) Households have the option of either returning the Income Eligibility Form directly to the Sponsor, or returning the form to the Provider with written consent allowing the Provider to collect the form and transmit it to the Sponsor on behalf of the household.
    4. The Sponsors cannot require their Providers to collect and transmit household information to them.
    5. A written consent clause will be included in the revised Letter to Households/Income Eligibility Form.

CACFP's Letter to Households/Income Eligibility Form (DOH-4160/DOH-4161) for Tier II Providers will be revised to reflect this change. They will be available on our website at www.nyhealth.Gov/nutrition or by calling CACFP at 1-800-942-3858, ext. 27262.

III. Summary of Changes

The purpose of this memo is to notify Sponsors of three changes that impact how income information is collected in CACFP. The first change requires that Sponsors collect only the last four digits of the household member's SSN on Income Eligibility Forms. The second change confers categorical Tier I eligibility to all foster children. Their eligibility can be documented with the completion of an Income Eligibility Form or with documentation from the State or local foster agency. The third change allows Tier II Day Care Home Providers to collect and transmit household income information to their Sponsor for the child's Tier determination. This change applies to only Tier II Providers that choose to have income eligibility determinations conducted on the households of children in care. Sponsors cannot require Providers to collect this information from the families of children in their care and Providers cannot require the families to submit their income information directly to the Provider.