A Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsoring organization (more than one site) must include a household contact procedure that meets federal requirements (7 CFR § 226.16 (d)) as part of its site monitoring responsibilities. The following procedure, developed by the Minnesota Department of Education – Food and Nutrition Service, meets the minimum regulatory requirements.
Household contact means a contact made by a sponsoring organization or a state agency to an adult member of a household with a child in a family day care home or a child care center in order to verify the attendance and enrollment of the child and the specific meal service(s) which the child routinely receives while in care.
A household contact is a tool used to verify the accuracy of the information submitted on claims for reimbursement by providers or centers. Household contacts are an oversight process that can be part of a sponsor’s review.
Household contacts are conducted to verify that meals claimed in a month were:
• Served to children enrolled in care.
• Served to children in attendance when the meal was served.
This information is critical to ensure the integrity of the CACFP meal claim.
The Minnesota Department of Education requires sponsoring organizations to use the following procedures when conducting household contacts.
1. Identify child care centers or family day care homes that have repeatedly submitted questionable claims. Criteria for conducting household contacts include, but are not limited to:
• Claims with many suppers, weekend or holiday meals.
• Complaints or conflicting information received related to attendance or meals served.
• Claims with little or no variation in attendance of participants.
• Lunches claimed for school-age children.
• Large claims, split shifts and other claiming patterns, such as children not seen at monitoring visits.
• Systemic irregularities in income eligibility forms.
• Provider’s repeated absence at the time of unannounced reviews.
2. Select recent month or months to verify so that households responding to the requests will be able to accurately remember the days that children were in attendance at the center or day care home. If there are specific questions for a less recent month, then the sponsor should conduct household contacts for that month.
3. Select the households to contact. For some claims only select children’s attendance will need to be verified. Other claims may require the attendance of all children to be verified.
4. Do not notify centers or day care homes prior to initiating household contacts.
5. Contact the households by mail, telephone or in person.
6. Document the contacts and all contact attempts completely, including:
• Name of household contact.
• Date of contact or attempted contact.
• Method of contact.
• Results of contact including name of child in care, dates of meals and meals served.
• Name of person conducting the household contact.
Make a minimum of three documented attempts to contact the household. If two attempts have been made without success try using:
• Address change requested on envelope, if mailing.
• A different method of attempt.
• A different time to attempt the contact.
• Other resources, such as internet, local phone books or services that locate people.
7. Use secondary verification if all first attempts have been unsuccessful. Secondary verification of participation is acceptable only when the sponsor can document compliance with the requirement to make a minimum of three attempts to contact the child’s parent or guardian.
Examples of secondary verification are:
• Itemized deposit slips or receipts showing the child-care payments for the child for whom the sponsor is trying to verify participation were received for the child in the month that is being verified.
• Collateral contact such as a member of the child’s family other than the parent or guardian or a parent or family member of another child in the child care who can verify that the child was enrolled for child care and receiving meals from the provider. The sponsor may not use the child care provider or any member of the child care provider’s family as a source of collateral verification of participation for any child.
• Sign in/sign out sheets that show that the child was present during the meal service in the month that is being verified.
• Trip sheets and/or field trip permission forms that show the child was present during the meal service in the month that is being verified.
• Monitor review reports for reviews conducted on the verification review month dates showing the child was present and received a meal.
8. Compare the responses from the household contacts to the monthly claim submitted for verification to determine if there was an overclaim.
9. Submit revised claims through the Cyber-Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System (CLiCS) to the Minnesota Department of Education when household contact information identifies inaccurate or fraudulent claiming by a center or a family day care home. If the 90-day claim period has expired, contact the Food and Nutrition Service.
10. Issue findings and a corrective action plan if there are discrepancies found in the reimbursement claim that was verified, including:
• Specific findings of noncompliance with program requirements.
• Actions to be taken by a center or a family day care home to ensure compliance.
• Date by which the corrective action is to be completed.
• Consequences for failure to submit or execute an acceptable corrective action plan.
11. Declare family day care homes seriously deficient if they are unable to maintain corrective actions or if they have claimed meals for children no longer enrolled.
12. Contact the Food and Nutrition service if a center is unable to maintain corrective actions or if they have claimed meals for children no longer enrolled.
History and Contacts
Created: March 2005
Modified: June 2014
Minnesota Department of Education
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville, MN 55113-4266