CACFP COVID-19 Updates
For Karamu Sponsored TN and KY Childcare Providers Only
Message To Our Sponsored Providers
As you are all aware, the worldwide coronavirus outbreak has significantly impacted how we all live. We trust you are each taking proper precautions to protect yourselves, your families, and the children and families that you care for.
Things are changing very quickly in all aspects of our personal and business lives - this includes the CACFP. This page is intended to provide you with the latest guidance we have regarding CACFP operations during this time of national emergency. We've alos included links to a number of resources that we hope you will find useful
Except as noted below, all CACFP rules and regulations are in full effect. Participants should continue to conduct themselves accordingly. As DHS and KDE issue state specific CACFP waivers we will share them with you and provide additional guidance. be sure visit this site regularly for updates.
Please stay safe and prayerful as we all navigate through these very trying times.
CACFP Waivers And Flexibilities
Childcare Licensing Waivers & Flexibilities
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Click on A Question To View The Answer
I am a Tennessee provider licensed for 7. Since school is out and we have our school children in care all day, can I claim my 7 preschoolers plus an additional 5 school agers for a total of 12 children?
Although DHS licensing allows licensed providers to care for 7 children plus up to five additional related children, the CACFP limits licensed provider to claiming meals for 7 children plus up to five additional children who must live in the household and be qualified for CACFP participation based on income. We have asked DHS if they are granting an exception to this rule. We will share the response as soon as we receive it. In the interim, you will only be reimbursed for meals served to 7 enrolled children plus up to an additional 5 children who must live in your household and must be income qualified
Currently I am closed voluntarily. I plan to reopen on April 1st.At that time, will I continue logging meals as normal and if so, is CACFP/Karamu still providing reimbursement during COVID19?
Once you reopen it will be business as usual with the exception of all of the waiver options that are available at that time. The USDA is committed to making sure food is available during the crisis and that includes through the CACFP. We will continue to process and reimburse claims as usual.
I want to know what do I need to do in order to get approved for take-out meals.
Please see waiver application information above.
If you are a Tennessee unlicensed provider limited to caring for four children, are you able to care for additional children now?
The rules for Tennessee's unlicensed providers are determined by the DHS CACFP office instead of the DHS licensing office. As soon as the DHS CACFP Director provides us guidance, we will be sure to share it with you. In the interim, all rules and regulations governing unlicensed homes are still in full effect. Unlicensed providers are still limited to caring for a maximum of four children.
Will food monitors make regularly scheduled visits, during this pandemic crisis, due to social distancing?
Karamu is currently limiting site inspections to those inspections that absolutely must be performed in order to maintain compliance with USDA requirements. Keep in mind that current regulations require sponsored facilities to allow Karamu staff (and other CACFP representatives) into their facility during normal operating hours. Of course, we are mindful of our obligation to help protect and respect the health and safety of our employees, providers, and the children and families you care for.
Does the pick-up waiver only apply to children who have been in regular attendance prior to the crisis? Do we need to call the parents to come and still pick up their meals?
The Tennessee governor is asking for providers to provide childcare for the children of designated essential personnel. The governor has asked that this care be made available all hours and all shifts. Can we claim these children (during these pandemic times) for all shifts, or just the meal time shifts we have on our contract application?
You are permitted to claim meals for any meal types and shifts you are currently approved for as long as you do not exceed your approved capacity. If you need to add a meal or shift in order to support essential personnel, please contact us. Meals and shifts can only be added if they are within the guidelines established for licensing and by the CACFP - to include any waivers you may have been granted approval for.
Will I be able to e-mail my meal attendance for March ?
Providers may send their March claims to us (as well as all future claims) using the methods they normally use; however, we want to avoid postal mail as much as possible just in case Karamu's employees are forced to work from home and we are not able to go into the office to check the mailbox.
Will this pandemic delay reimbursement checks in the coming months?
The USDA has made it very clear through various correspondence that they intend to make sure that children who normally receive free meals whether in the school lunch program or the Child and Adult Care Food program, will continue to have free meals available to them during this crisis. At present, neither the USDA, DHS, or KDE have given us any reason to believe meal reimbursements will be delayed in the coming months.
How should an At Risk Afterschool site maintain attendance and meal counts for the drive thru meal service?
Meal counts will be maintained as usual. Attendance can be taken by one staff person asking and recording the names and ages of the participants. You do not have to pass pens and paper back and forth for signatures.
If a center had an overage of milk carryover from February to March when should the center start declaring unavailable milk for March?
You can fill out the milk shortage declaration form as soon as you try to buy milk and are not able to buy the quantities or types that you need. You do not have to wait until you use up the inventory you have now. Once the waiver is granted, you’ll have to tell us which meals had milk and which meals did not. This is how the current inventory will be accounted for.
I am having trouble finding bread, whole grain rich foods, CN labeled foods, and other staple items I normally serve. Am I allowed to serve non-creditable food items?
Please refer to the Meal Pattern Requirement waiver under the CACFP Waivers and Flexibilities section of this web page.
My local school district is distributing free school meals to the people in my community. They gave me enough lunches to cover all of the children in my daycare. Can I claim these meals for reimbursement?
To date there has been no guidance issued to make allowances for donated food items. The CACFP remains a reimbursing program and providers are required to purchase all required food items in order to be reimbursed. Keep in mind that existing regulations do allow for meals to be reimbursed if a parent provides a maximum of one item and the provider purchases all of the other food items.
If Karamu staff are prohibited from coming to work how will my March claim get processed?
In the event of a shelter-in-place order by local, state or federal government officials, Karamu is prepared to continue to provide full support to our providers via phone, e-mail, Dropbox, and other means of communications. We are also equipped to process enrollments, income eligibility applications and most claims that are submitted to us either by fax, e-mail, Dropbox, or online using Kidkare or Minute Menu. For childcare centers and homes who submit your claims on paper, now is the time to familiarize yourself with online claiming. We also highly suggest everyone consider moving to e-Forms to allow you to collect and submit income applications and enrollment electronically.
I am an unlicensed alternately approved childcare home provider in Tennessee. How does the governor's order allowing relaxation of licensing rules impact me? Can I care for more than four children?
We currently have not received any guidance from DHS on how this rule will be applied to unlicensed childcare providers. The rules for unlicensed providers are determined by DHS' CACFP office instead of DHS' licensing office. As soon as the DHS CACFP Director provides us guidance, we will be sure to share it with you. In the interim, all rules and regulations governing unlicensed homes are still in full effect.
I am a family daycare provider approved to serve meals to my own children. Am I still able to claim my own children even though I am serving non-congregate meal?
Yes. You are still allowed to claim meals served to qualified children who live in your household even though you are claiming non-congregate meals with no meal time restrictions. You are still limited to claiming 2 meals and 1 snack per child per day.
Do I still have to maintain attendance, meals counts, menus and other claim documents even though I am approved to serve non-congregate meals without meal time restrictions?
Yes. The requirement to maintain claims documentation has not changed. All meals you serve must be properly documented and claims are still due by the 3rd.
My daycare is officially closed . Can I still provide non-congregate meals to the children enrolled in my care even though they are not presently attending care each day?
Yes. Once you are approved for non-congregate meals you will be allowed to prepare, serve, and claim meals for your properly enrolled children even if they are not in your care. The parents will need to pick up the meals once they are ready or you can deliver the meals to the families.
Things You Can Do
Karamu Operations and Contingencies
Office Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM central time.
Office Visitor Restrictions: Karamu’s Clarksville and Memphis offices are closed to visitors pending further notice. If you need to drop off documents, please use the designated drop boxes. Our staff will continue to report to work as usual and will be available to provide phone and e-mail support to you as needed.
Site Inspections: The government recently announced some flexibility when it comes to performing site inspections. While the rules do not completely waive the requirement to conduct site inspections, it does temporarily reduce the number of minimum inspections that must be performed. Karamu is currently limiting site inspections to those inspections that absolutely must be performed in order to maintain compliance with USDA requirements. Keep in mind that current regulations require sponsored facilities to allow Karamu staff (and other CACFP representatives) into their facility during normal operating hours. Of course, we are mindful of our obligation to help protect and respect the health and safety of our employees, providers, and the children and families you care for.
Shelter-In-Place Operations: As stated above in the frequently asked questions, in the event a shelter-in-place order is issued that prevents our staff from coming to the office, we are equipped to continue operations in a work-from-home environment. We will be able to continue to perform tasks such as processing enrollments, income eligibility applications and claims that are submitted to us either by fax, e-mail, Dropbox, or online using Kidkare or Minute Menu. For childcare centers and homes who submit your claims on paper, now is the time to familiarize yourself with online claiming. We also highly suggest everyone consider moving to e-Forms to allow you to collect and submit income applications and enrollments electronically.