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 Administrative Update: A Publication of Child Nutrition and Food Distribution
 

In this Issue

September 2011

Breakfast Promotion Outreach Required

Categorical Eligibility of Foster Children (USDA Memo SP-17-2011)

Direct Certification

Have You Hired a New Lead Foodservice Worker? Has a Cook’s Name Changed? 

Mandatory 30 Day Carry-over of Free/Reduced Price Eligibility

New Requirements for Local Wellness Policies (LWP)

North Dakota Pride of Dakota School Lunch Day coming Up October 4

Use of Social Security Numbers in Child Nutrition Programs

Water is Required to be Available Where School Lunch is Served 

Breakfast Promotion Outreach Required  

Section 112 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act requires schools participating in the School Breakfast Program to inform families of the availability of school breakfast.

Research has shown that starting the day with a nutritious breakfast helps students stay alert and perform better in school. In an effort to help more children benefit from the breakfast program, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 20110 requires sponsors to perform outreach promoting school breakfast.

Schools participating in the breakfast program must inform families of the availability of breakfasts. A notification must be relayed just prior to or at the beginning of the school year in the informational packets that are sent to each household with free and reduced price meal applications for the new school year. In addition, schools should send reminders regarding the availability of breakfast multiple times throughout the school year. Schools can provide reminders to children through the public address systems in the schools. Other acceptable outreach activities may include disseminating printed or electronic materials to families and children or posting information on the school’s website.

We have developed a “Dear Parent” letter and several other resources to promote breakfast on our website under New & Hot Reauthorization and Programs/School Breakfast/Reauthorization. The link is provided below. Feel free to revise the letter and send it to your families.

http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/child/snp/nslp/outreach.shtm

If you have any questions, please contact Deb Egeland at degeland@nd.gov or 1-888-338-3663 or 701-328-3718 or Cathy Deics at 701-328-2664 or cdeics@nd.gov .

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Categorical Eligibility of Foster Children (USDA Memo SP-17-2011)

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 provides categorical eligibility for free meals to foster children.  This memo provides guidance on the implementation of this provision in the Child Nutrition Programs. These provisions are effective October 1, 2010.

It is important to note that these provisions only apply to foster children formally placed by a state child welfare agency or a court.  They do not apply to informal arrangements that may exist outside of state or court based systems.

Changes to Application Process

The change to allow categorical eligibility for free meals for foster children requires changes in the way free and reduced price applications are handled.  Previously, a separate application for free and reduced price meals was submitted for a foster child who was considered a household of one.

Now, the foster child is categorically eligible and may be certified without an application.
This can be done by making a list of your students that are foster children and having the local agency that places foster children verify that all students on the list are foster children. We have contacted the ND Department of Human Services about this new ruling so that they can inform local foster care agencies that sponsors may be requesting verification of foster care status.

The foster parent can also fill out an application and check the foster child box next to the child’s name.

Households with foster and non-foster children may choose to include the foster child as a household member, as well as any personal income earned by the foster child, on the same household application that includes their non-foster children.  This will streamline the application process and may help the foster family’s non-foster children qualify for free or reduced price meals based on household size and income. 

In processing the application, the sponsor would certify the foster child for free meals, and then make an eligibility determination for the remainder of the household based on the household’s income (including personal income earned by the foster child) or other categorical eligibility information reported on the application.  As before, foster payments received by the family from the placing agency are not considered income and should not be reported.  The presence of a foster child in the household does not convey eligibility for free meals to all children in the household in the same manner as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservation (FDPIR) participation does.

If you have any questions please contact our office.

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Direct Certification

This fall, we will be fully implementing our new Direct Certification System through STARS. LEAs will need to access the STARS system to find their Direct Certification list. No other Direct Certification/SNAP/Food Stamp lists will be provided. The STARS system provides a very easy-to-read list of all directly certified students.  

This system provides up to date direct certification information based on each LEA’s enrollment that is entered into STARS. The system is more interactive, to ensure eligible students receive meal benefits as soon as possible. Please enroll all of your students in STARS before checking the direct certification site. Student matches cannot occur unless they are enrolled in a school on STARS. 

Direct Certification users will receive e-mail notifications of the names of children eligible for free school meals who may be enrolled in their district.  The user must access the Direct Certification system in STARS to indicate whether or not that child is actually enrolled in the district.
 
To access the direct certification application on STARS, LEA administrators will have to grant permissions to those persons responsible for maintaining free/reduced price eligibility information.  Permissions are granted through the Report Permissions section. For Direct Certification, the users will need “Can View, Can Add/Edit Data” and “Can Export” permissions. If a user needs to view the Direct Certification checkmark in the enrollment file, the user will also need the Direct Certification special

If you used the system last year, you will note that the system looks a little different this year. Direct Certification is now listed under the Reports menu section on the main page. The user chooses Direct Certification and then the LEA name. Finally, choose the appropriate school year in the Direct Certification dialogue box. Once in the Direct Certification system, the user will be able to view the Broadcast Notification and the Matched Notifications. 

A step by step instruction manual is available on the Child Nutrition website under New and Hot. In addition, Child Nutrition staff will provide training and technical assistance visits throughout the state during SY 11-12.  Dates and locations will be provided in late August. Contact Carla cwardzinski@nd.gov or Linda lkschloer@nd.gov if you have any questions regarding the Direct Certification system. 

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Have You Hired a New Lead Foodservice Worker? Has a Cook’s Name Changed? 

Steps to Complete for a new hired:

  • The Authorized Representative is required to update the new name on the site application in the FNP system.
  • Once the change is input and our office approves the change, we will determine if the new LFSW (the head cook/person preparing the meals, not the authorized rep) requires sanitation training.
  • If training is required, a letter with training dates and locations will be sent to the Authorized Representative and the new LFSW.
  • The state does not require a LFSW to have a physical or receive immunizations.
  • The LFSW at each site must have Sanitation and Safety training within six months of being hired/placed in the LFSW position.
  • The LFSW may take ServSafe or Serving It Safe training at the child care center at his/her own expense instead of the free Pathways sanitation instruction.
  • If the sanitation requirement is met through either ServSafe or Serving It Safe, the LFSW must send a copy of the certificate to our office to document that the training has been completed.
  • Once the ten-hour Sanitation and Safety training requirement is met, the LFSW must attend a three-hour Sanitation Update training every five years thereafter.

A letter will be sent to both the Authorized Representative and the LFSW when training is required.

Has a Cook’s Name Changed? (marriage, divorce, etc.), update the FNP system and send an email to Nancy Darling (ndarling@nd.gov).  List the former name and the new name so she knows the information is only a name change and not a new person. Contact Nancy at 1-888-338-3663 or at 701-328-3210.

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Mandatory 30 Day Carry-over of Free/Reduced Price Eligibility

USDA requires a carry-over of eligibility up to 30 operating days into the subsequent school year. This applies to direct certifications, categorical determinations and income applications. As in the past, a new eligibility determination in the current year supersedes the carry-over eligibility. However, schools can not require new applications until the carry-over date deadline. For most schools, this day will occur sometime after October 1.

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New Requirements for Local Wellness Policies (LWP)

The Child Nutrition and reauthorization Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-265) required schools participating in the NSLP to develop and implement a Local Wellness Policy, (LWP). Requirements include: setting goals for nutrition education, physical activity and other school-based activities, setting nutrition guidelines for all foods available on school campus, meeting nutrition standards for school meals, and a plan for measuring implementation of the local wellness policy. The policy must be developed by a team consisting of at least one person from each of these stakeholder groups: parents, students, school foodservice personnel, school board members, school administrators and the public.

New requirements from for LWP development, promotion and implementation from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act include the following:

  • The LWP must include goals for nutrition promotion.
  • Local agencies are now required to permit physical education teachers and school health professionals to participate in the development of wellness policies.
  • The Act also expanded the purpose of the team to include implementation of the LWP with periodic review and updates.
  • The local agency must designate one or more local officials to ensure that each school complies with the LWP.
  • Local agencies must inform and update the public (including parents, students and the community) about the content and implementation of the LWP.
  • Local agencies are also required to measure progress periodically and make available to the public an assessment of the LWP which includes:
    • the extent to which schools are in compliance with the LWP,
    • the extent to which the LWP compares to model LWPs, and
    • the progress made in attaining the goals of the LWP.

There are a number of ways in which local agencies can implement the requirement for informing the public about the content and implementation of the LWP. Acceptable methods may include sending out printed or electronic materials to families at the beginning of the year and posting the LWP and an assessment of its implementation on the district or school website. The information must be made available to the public in an accessible, easily understood manner. For school year 2011/2012, schools should be working toward developing a reasonable method to implement this requirement, with the goal of making the information public by the end of the school year.

LWP resources are available at USDA’s Team Nutrition web site:
http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/healthy/wellnesspolicy.html
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will soon be releasing the School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Among Youth as a resource to assist local schools in designing, implementing, and promoting elements of LWPs on the CDC website at: http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth

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North Dakota Pride of Dakota School Lunch Day coming Up October 4

The Pride of Dakota School Lunch Day has been moved to October 4 to take advantage of local foods harvested this fall. Schools across the state are encouraged to serve North Dakota products such as fresh produce, beef, pork, corn, potatoes, wheat, sunflower seeds, honey, milk, cheese and beans during this special week. The North Dakota Department of Agriculture will be sending information out about how to participate in the program. You can visit the ND Agriculture Department website at: http://www.prideofdakota.com/

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Use of Social Security Numbers in Child Nutrition Programs

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Public Law 111-296, amends statutory requirements for collection of social security numbers in all Child Nutrition Programs. Section 301amends the act by removing the requirement that the adult household member who signs a household application for free and reduced-price meals also must provide his or her complete SSN, as a condition of eligibility. The act now requires that only the last four digits of the SSN must be provided on the application.  It also removes the requirement that the SSN of each household member be collected to verify applications.  The new requirements increase privacy protections.

The Application for Free and Reduced Price Meals has been changed to reflect this new law.

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Water is Required to be Available Where School Lunch is Served 

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the Act), Public Law 111-296, establishes a requirement for making water available to children in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).  This memo provides guidance on the implementation of this provision.

The Act requires schools participating in the NSLP to make water available to children at no charge in the place where meals are served during the meal service.  There are a variety of ways that schools can implement this requirement.  For example, schools can offer water pitchers and cups on lunch tables, a water fountain, or a faucet that allows students to fill their own bottles or cups with drinking water.  Whatever solution is chosen, the water must be available without restriction in the location where meals are served.  Schools should be working toward developing a reasonable method to implement this requirement. 

While water is required to be made available to students, it is not considered part of the reimbursable meal and students are not required to take water.  There is no separate funding available for this provision and reimbursement may not be claimed.  However, reasonable costs associated with providing water would be an allowable cost to the non-profit food service account.  

Some food service areas and/or procedures may require significant changes to properly incorporate this provision.  We also recognize the range of complexities that may be involved in a school’s ability to implement this provision. Therefore, we encourage schools to comply with this requirement as soon as possible, but not later than the beginning of school year 2011-12.

If you have any questions about this new requirement, please contact Deb Egeland at degeland@nd.gov or 1-888-338-3663 or 701-328-3718.

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In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
Kirsten Baesler, State Superintendent
600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Dept. 201
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0440
701/328-2260

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