Civil Rights Requirements of the CACFP

Civil Rights Requirements of the CACFP


This training on civil rights requirements
for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, called “CACFP,” is intended for individuals
participating in this United States Department of Agriculture, Food
and Nutrition Services, child nutrition program as well as anyone having direct contact with
program participants. Training on civil rights is an annual requirement. The purpose of this training is to convey
policy and this training will give you the information
you need to comply with basic civil rights requirements and prohibit
discrimination in the management and operation of your nutrition
program. Today we’ll talk about: Why are civil rights
important? What is discrimination? What are the federal and Rhode Island’s additional
protected classes? What is the federal non-discrimination statement
and when must you use it? and What are a Sponsor’s responsibilities? Handouts related to many of these topics are
available online for you to print out. Go to the link shown here. You may download a certificate of completion
at the end of this training module by answering a few brief questions regarding
civil rights. Keep the certificate in your CACFP training
file to verify program completion. Civil Rights & Discrimination Civil rights requirements ensure equal access
to the Child and Adult Care Food Program. They eliminate illegal barriers that might
prevent or deter people from receiving benefits. Adherence to civil rights requirements ensures that all program participants are treated with dignity
and respect. Discrimination is the act of distinguishing
a person or group of persons from others intentionally, through neglect, or by the
effect of actions or lack of action based on their protected classes. There are six federally protected classes
which are: Race Color National origin Age Sex, and Disability In addition, The State of Rhode Island has
two protected classes: Religion and
Sexual orientation Here are some examples of discrimination: Refusing a person’s enrollment in your program
based on disability Failure to provide reasonable accommodations
to disabled individuals Serving meals at a time, place or in a manner
that is discriminatory Failing to provide materials that give non-English
speaking persons full and equal opportunity to receive benefits What is the non-discrimination statement and
when must you use it? The federal non-discrimination statement defines
what constitutes discrimination and how to file a complaint. The full version of the statement should be
used whenever possible. An abbreviated version of this statement,
namely: “This institution is an equal opportunity
provider and employer.” may be used when space is limited to one page. The non-discrimination statement must be included
on all publications, including websites that inform the public
about the CACFP. This includes any parent or employee handbook
developed by your organization where the Program is referenced as well as
any letter or flyers you write that mentions the food program by name. A copy of the current federal non-discrimination
statement is included in the training printouts that accompany this
module. The additional classes protected under RI
law are also included in the printed statement and must be included whenever the full federal
non-discrimination statement is used. Now, let’s talk about your responsibilities
as a Sponsor. As either a Sponsor new to the CACFP or a
current Sponsor, there are specific civil rights requirements
that you are responsible to undertake for the food program. These include: Data collection Ethnic/racial data is used to determine how
effectively your program is reaching potentially eligible applicants and where
additional outreach may be needed. RIDE requires that you gather this data and
report it. This is the preferred method. The Meal Benefit Application has a section
for families to identify their ethnic and racial data. However, completion of this information is
strictly voluntary. If an applicant or applicant’s family chooses
not to provide this information, you may gather the information using one of
these two methods: Visual identification by a Sponsor official Personal knowledge, records or other documentation
your agency possesses that identifies ethnic/racial data Additionally: Each Sponsor must also complete the civil
rights Beneficiary Data Form every year. One form must be completed for each CACFP
facility under your administration. It must be signed, dated and kept on file
with your CACFP records. New Sponsors must also identify the ethnic/racial
make-up of the communities that they serve on the CACFP application to
participate in the program. This information must be based on the most
current census data. In addition, each time you add a new facility
to the food program you must identify the ethnic/racial make-up of the
community that new facility serves on the site application. Your system of collecting and storing civil
rights information from participants and their families must ensure that the data
collected is kept secure and confidential. The information should not be available for
anyone to see except individuals from RIDE’s nutrition program, the USDA and
any other responsible staff within your organization. Public Notification It is important for all Sponsors of the CACFP
to inform the public of the availability of the program. The public notification must include information
on the following: Eligibility Benefits & services Program availability Applicant rights and responsibilities Procedures for filing a complaint, and Programmatic changes , such as changing the
location or time of a meal Additionally: New Sponsors must send out a
public release to a local media outlet to announce participation in the CACFP and
of program availability. When you apply to become a Sponsor, a copy
of the media release that you must use will be provided to you. After the initial public media release has
been issued by your organization, RIDE will issue an annual public media release
on behalf of all participating Sponsors. Sponsors must display the “And Justice for
All” poster in a prominent place where participants and potential participants
have access to the information on it. The poster must be in each facility and must
be in the 11-inch-by-17 inch format. If you need a new “And Justice for All” poster,
contact RIDE. Posters are provided to participating centers
free of charge. Until your new poster is sent to you, you
may get a poster from the USDA for temporary use at the website
shown here All Sponsors must have procedures in place
for recording and handling civil rights complaints. Any person alleging discrimination in the
food program based on the protected classes previously
identified, has the right to file a complaint within 180
days of the alleged discriminatory action. Complaints may be written or verbal. Anonymous complaints should be handled as
any other complaint. Each organization needs to have a system in
place to record and document any complaints. Sponsors must notify RIDE of a civil rights
complaint immediately, as all complaints must be forwarded to USDA’s
regional office. A sample form and a written policy are available
in the training printouts. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
prohibits discrimination based on disability in all services, programs
and activities provided to the public by state and local
governments. Persons with disabilities must have the following: Program accessibility Effective communication with staff, and Easy access to buildings Language Assistance Sponsors have a responsibility to take steps
to ensure meaningful access to their programs and services by persons
with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). This might include providing CACFP information
and forms in appropriate languages. It could also mean providing translators to
assist the participant and/or his or her family in obtaining program
information or in completing forms pertaining to the CACFP. It is not appropriate to use young children
as translators for adults. Annual Staff Training All staff that interacts with applicants or
participants must be provided with civil rights training, appropriate to
their job responsibilities, on an annual basis. For example, people working in a classroom
should be made aware that they cannot purposely
separate children by ethnicity, race, age or gender at meal time. They should be aware that
reasonable accommodation of persons with disabilities should be made. Similarly, a person responsible for
processing meal eligibility forms should be trained on the importance
of ensuring that the information on those forms is
to be kept confidential. In addition, all staffers should be aware
of what to do if they receive a civil rights complaint. Be sure to instruct staff on your complaint
procedures. Non-compliance If your organization is found to be
non-compliant in some aspect of civil rights, you must take steps to immediately
resolve the identified non-compliance. Not correcting the problem and ensuring that
it does not re-surface may lead to serious deficiency, suspension
or termination from the program. Let’s take a look at a few situations that
illustrate what we have been discussing. Through your data collection procedures, you recognize that even though the
community you serve is comprised of a large Hispanic
population (60 percent), only four percent of enrolled Hispanics have
completed a meal eligibility form. What outreach efforts would you take to increase
the return of meal eligibility forms? First, great job on data collection and analysis! Your outreach efforts might include the following: Providing information or materials in Spanish Providing outreach to other programs in the
areas that serve the Hispanic population, such as partnering with social service agencies
and working with neighborhood groups. You have leftovers following the last meal
service period and offer the extra to the boys. Is this practice discriminatory and, if so,
on what basis? Yes, it is discriminatory. Even though you
may not intentionally be discriminating against anyone, you are
discriminating based on sex. If leftovers are going to be distributed,
they need to be offered to everyone. A family does not want to identify their ethnic or race background on the application. What should you do? Explain to the family that self-identification
is voluntary. Applicants or participants are not required
to furnish information on their ethnicity or race. When applicants do not provide the information, the data collector must, through visual observation, record the information. You can point out that the collection of this
information is strictly for statistical reporting requirements and no effect on determining eligibility for
the program. A child-care center does not provide infant
food and/or formula to infants in their care and requires parents to supply these items. Is this a civil rights issue? Yes. All children who attend a center
must be provided equal access to the benefits of the CACFP. Parents cannot be required to
supply food items. To withhold the program from any eligible
age group is age discrimination. Children whose first language is Cambodian
are asked to sit together at a Cambodian-speaking table at meals. Is this a civil rights issue? Yes, segregating or separating children who
share a particular characteristic could be considered a civil rights issue and discrimination based on the protected
class of national origin. NOTE: Be careful of implied segregation, such as seating boys or girls at separate
tables or seating one group of children at a table because of religious dietary practices. This is a questionable practice unless it
is done for a legitimate reason. We thank you for taking part in the civil
rights training and hope that you now have a basic understanding of civil rights requirements for the CACFP. Equal treatment for all participants, basic knowledge of rights and responsibilities, the elimination of any barriers that would
prevent or deter people from receiving CACFP benefits and the need for dignity and respect for all are key goals of civil rights in the Child
and Adult Care Food Program. Take a short quiz and download your
training certificate at the link shown here.

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