Policy Memo 121

DOH-CACFP: Number 121 (09/08) [Supersedes Number 24 (06/97)]

TO: CACFP Sponsors of Family Day Care Homes

FROM: Jeanne Culver, State Director, Child and Adult Care Food Program

SUBJECT: Determining Tier I Eligibility of Children Enrolled in a Tier II Home

I. Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this memorandum is to describe the three options a Tier II provider may choose to establish the income eligibility of children enrolled in the family day care home. Meals served to income eligible children can be reimbursed at the Tier I rates when the provider elects to receive mixed reimbursement rates. A provider is Tier II when the day care home is not in a Tier I area, or when the provider's household is not low income. A Tier II provider may receive the higher rate of meal reimbursements for the income eligible children in care. The CACFP Sponsor is responsible for determining which children in Tier II homes are eligible to be claimed at the Tier I rate.

II. Sponsor Responsibilities in Determining Eligibility of Children in Tier II Homes

The Federal regulations governing CACFP specify three options for the collection of income eligibility information from households of children in the care of a Tier II day care home provider. The Tier II day care home provider may choose if she wants the CACFP Sponsor to identify income eligible children. The option that a Tier II provider selects will decide if, and how, sponsors are to establish the eligibility of enrolled children. The three options are described below:

  1. The CACFP Sponsor will collect income eligibility information from the households of all children enrolled in the day care home. If the provider selects this option, the CACFP Sponsor may establish the eligibility of enrolled children using one of the ways described below. Once a child is identified as a Tier 1 child, the meals and snacks served to that child will be reimbursed at the higher rate.
    1. The income reported in Part B on the DOH-4160, Letter to Households: Tier II Day Care Home Participant, shows the household's income is at or below 185% of the Federal poverty guidelines.
    2. The child is a member of a household that participates in, or is subsidized under, a categorically eligible program. Categorical eligibility of children enrolled in Tier II homes includes any State or Federal assistance program that has income eligibility limits at or below 185% of poverty. For a list of programs, please refer to the list on page 2 of the Letter to Households: Tier II Day Care Home Participant (DOH-4160). Children from households that receive benefits from one of these programs could be identified by the sponsor in two ways:
      1. The household could identify itself as receiving benefits from one of the categorically eligible programs listed and enter their case number on page 3 of the DOH-4160. In this situation, Part B of the income eligibility application would not have to be completed. The parent or guardian then signs and dates the form on page 4.
      2. The CACFP Sponsor, or the provider, has documentation that a child's household is receiving benefits from an eligible program. In this situation, the completion of the DOH-4160 would not be necessary. However, a copy of the documentation would need to be retained by the CACFP Sponsor as an alternative to the DOH-4160 form. This option for categorical eligibility could occur in one of the following examples:
        1. a provider receives payment for a child's care in the form of a subsidized voucher from the local Department of Social Services or the NYC Agency for Children's Services (ACS). A copy of the child's voucher must be retained by the sponsor.
        2. a household provides the sponsor or the provider with an official letter issued by the qualifying program agency documenting the household's participation in a qualifying program, such as the Food Stamp Program or the National School Lunch Program. A copy of the letter must be retained by the sponsor.
        3. a CACFP Sponsor has access to income information from another eligible program, such as the Head Start Program. A copy of the program's eligibility information, such as an approved income application, must be retained by the sponsor.
  2. The CACFP Sponsor identifies only the categorically eligible children for Tier I rates. If the provider elects this option, the sponsor would identify only those children the CACFP Sponsor, or provider, knows (as described in paragraph A.2.b. above) to be categorically eligible for Tier I reimbursements. The Sponsor must retain copies of vouchers or other documentation on file as proof of participation in an eligible program. A DOH-4160 form does not have to be completed in this situation. The only time this "selective identification" option may be used is when the Sponsor or the provider already possesses documentation of the child's or household's participation in, or subsidy under, a categorically eligible program. The provider may not selectively identify children based upon suspected or assumed income eligibility or participation in an eligible program.
  3. The CACFP Sponsor does not collect or identify income eligibility information for children. If the provider believes it is unlikely that any households for children in her care are eligible, or chooses not to have the CACFP Sponsor collect such information, then all meals served to enrolled children will be paid at the Tier II rates. The sponsor will not distribute and collect DOH-4160 forms or identify categorically eligible children based upon the sponsor's or provider's knowledge. Tier II providers who elect this option will receive the lower rates of reimbursement for all meals served.

If you have any questions about this policy memorandum, please contact one of the Homes Unit nutritionists at 1-800-942-3858, ext. 27104.

Enclosure: DOH-4160 Letter to Households, Tier II Day Care Home Participant