CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES AND SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDS
Operators of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) are required to make reasonable modifications to Program meals or the meal service to accommodate children or adults (Program participants) with disabilities that restrict the diet. 1. Licensed Medical Authority’s Statement for Participants with Disabilities U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations at 7 CFR Part 15b require substitutions or modifications in Program meals for participants whose disabilities restrict their diets. Sponsors, centers, and day care homes must provide modifications for participants on a case-by-case basis when requests are supported by a written statement from a state licensed medical authority. The third page of this document (“Medical Plan of Care for Child Nutrition Programs”) may be used to obtain the required information from the licensed medical authority. For this purpose, a state licensed medical authority in Pennsylvania includes a: • Physician, • Physician assistant, • Certified registered nurse practitioner, or • Dentist. The written medical statement must include: • An explanation of how the participant’s physical or mental impairment restricts the diet; • An explanation of what must be done to accommodate the participant; and • The food or foods to be omitted and recommended alternatives, if appropriate. 2. Other Special Dietary Needs Program operators may make food substitutions for individual participants who do not have a medical statement on file. Such determinations are made on a case-by-case basis and all accommodations must be made according to USDA’s meal pattern requirements. Program operators are encouraged, but not required, to have documentation on file when making menu modifications within the meal pattern. Special dietary needs and requests such as those related to general health concerns and personal preferences are not disabilities and are optional for Program operators to accommodate. Meal modifications for non-disability reasons are reimbursable provided that these meals adhere to Program regulations. 3. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, a person with a disability means any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities or major bodily functions, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. A physical or mental impairment does not need to be life threatening in order to constitute a disability. If it limits a major life activity, it is considered a disability. Major life activities include, but are not limited to: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to: functions of the immune system; normal cell growth; and digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. Children and Adults with Disabilities and Special Dietary Needs Rev. January 2021 2 4. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Preschool children, infants, and toddlers with disabilities have additional rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Questions regarding the IDEA’s requirements should be directed to the U.S. Department of Education, which is the federal agency responsible for the administration and enforcement of the IDEA. Child Nutrition Program (CACFP/SFSP) Contact For more information about requesting accommodations to Program meals and the meal service for participants with disabilities please contact: USDA Nondiscrimination Statement In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: https://www.usda.gov/oascr/how-to-file-a-programdiscrimination-complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: 1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; 2. fax: (202) 690-7442; or 3. email: email@example.com. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
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