In line to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Nutrition Services policy memorandum SP 15-2018 CACFP 12-2018, SFSP 5-2018 (PDF) Child Nutrition Program Protocol for Waiver Requests and Guidelines-Revised 24 May 2018. The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) seeks an exemption from statutory and/or regulations of the program to aid CACFP as well as SFSP program managers in adjusting to normal operation and recognizing the continuing impacts of COVID-19.


Waiver to Verification of the National School Lunch Program Verification

Requirements for Recordkeeping and Reporting

1. State agency that submits request for waiver and responsible State agency contact information for staff:

Tennessee Department of Human Services

Allette Vayda- Director of Operations

Child Care and Community ServicesFood Programs CACFP & SFSP

James K. Polk Building 15th Floor

505 Deaderick Street, Nashville, TN 37243

p. 615-313-3769

[email protected]

2. Region:

Southeast Region

3. Participating service providers who are eligible for the waiver must affirm to be in good standing

All Tennessee Department of Human Services (TN DHS) approved sponsor that has met the following criteria:

  • In good standing;
  • The program was approved by TN DHS to operate a Summer Food Service Program and/or an Adult and Child Care Food Program

4. Description of the issue the State agency is trying to resolve, the purpose of the waiver to enhance services offered under the Program and the expected results if the waiver is granted. (Section 12(l)(2)(A)(iii) as well as 12(l)(2)(A)(iv) (iv) of the NSLA(iv) of the NSLA:

While sponsors work to respond as well as recover from COVID-19 epidemic, it is crucial to minimize administrative burden to the greatest extent that is possible. Sponsors continue to face an extensive problems with staffing and supply chain while they make the transition back to normal operation. The state agency wants to provide operational and administrative flexibility wherever feasible, while also maintaining the integrity of our program in providing nutritious food during COVID-19 response.

TN DHS is planning to offer an extensive technical assistance and education over the next few months in the operational and regulatory aspects of meal programs. An ease in these regulations will allow us better serve the requirements of our customers.

Contests Without The Waiver

  • Sponsors are still in doubt about how they can best reduce costs while still having to deal with pandemic related issues, including disruptions to supply chains or staffing gaps. In the absence of these exceptions the sponsors will have to spend a significant amount of time working on activities that are a result of regulatory burden, instead of focusing on providing services to children and students.
  • Program participation is declining due to the public health crisis that continues , and COVID-19 patients continue to circulate across states as new variations emerge.
  • Food insecurity will always be a problem for children and students since the cost of products has increased. Families will need to take tough choices about how to spend their money.

Objective of Waiver for Improve Services

  • The aim is to reduce the administrative burden on the sponsor during this period of transition. Sponsors are working on transitioning back to normal operations however, the labor and supply chain shortages continue to hinder their efforts. The waivers will give more flexibility if needed in the summer of 2022.
  • In removing administrative burdens the sponsors can concentrate on making changes known to families and staff, as well as training them to approve and accept meals, and navigate the constant COVID-19-related problems.
  • Flexible meals service options, non-congregate meals as well as parent/guardian meal pick-up, time of service and offer versus service give sponsors the flexibility they need to continue providing meals to comply with COVID-19.
  • Keep sponsor and site participation in the program and reduce hunger in the local community.
  • Let TN DHS staff to focus on specific technical assistance and education for sponsors to help them navigate logistics and labour shortage issues.

Expected Outcomes of Waiver

  • Sponsors will be able to change back to normal operation over an extended period of time, which helps to ensure success.
  • Sponsors will employ flexibilities depending on the need, to limit the negative effects on program participation continuing to be a result of COVID-19 challenges.
  • Make it easier for program administrators and sponsors, allowing them to concentrate on the top priority requirements of their site or program.

5. Specific Program requirements that must be removed (include the statutory and regulatory reference). Section 12(l)(2)(A)(i) (i) of the NSLA(iii)) of the NSLA:

Check out the checklist here. .

6. An extensive description of alternate methods and their anticipated impacts on Program operations such as the State system, technology, and monitoring

If approved, there will be no major impacts on the state system, technology, or monitoring.

7. A description of the steps States have undertaken to overcome regulatory obstacles at the State level. Section 12(l)(2)(A)(ii) in the NSLA[Section 12(l.)(2)(A.)(ii)]

There are no restrictions at the state level that are related to this particular issue.

8. The most likely challenges States or service providers that are eligible to participate could encounter with the implementation of the waiver:

TN DHS does not anticipate that the creation of this waiver will cause any problems at the sponsor or state or sponsor level.

9. A description of how the waiver does not add to the overall costs of the Program for taxpayers. Federal Government. If there are expected increases, ensure that the expenses will be financed by funds that are not Federal. (Section 12(l)(1)(A)(iii) in the NSLA[Section 12(l)(1)(A)(iii) of the

The waiver will not add to the total amount of cost for taxpayers. Federal Government.

10. The date for the anticipated waiver’s implementation as well as duration:

The expected statewide implementation begin date is subject to approval by USDA and will remain in place until the dates specified in the attached.

11. Proposed procedure for monitoring and reviewing:

The monitoring of the performance of sponsors under the waiver request will be based on the regulations of administrative review for every program. This procedure will be in line with 7 CFR 226 and 225 review guidelines.

12. Proposed requirements for reporting (include the type of data to be reported and the due date(s) for FNS):

By October 30th, 2023. TN DHS will report to USDA the number of sponsors who utilized this waiver.