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Meal Pattern Minute: Disability-Accommodated Food from Home

March 1, 2024

Navigating meal reimbursements can be complex, especially when parents or caregivers provide individual food components to create a complete meal or snack at the family child care home or child care center. When a child with a disability is under your care, and the parent supplies all the necessary food components for all meals and snacks, the question arises: can you claim reimbursement for those meal types? 

 Get the answer by listening to this Meal Pattern Minute where Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, provides the CACFP federal guidelines when it comes to parents/caregivers brining in food from home for their child. Please connect with your State agency or sponsoring organizations for more information on any regulations pertaining to this in your state. Some organizations do not allow parent/caregivers to bring in any food components and the site must provide all CACFP food components. 


Find additional information by reviewing the resources below. 

  • 7 CFR 226.20(g)(1) Exceptions and variations in reimbursable meals Exceptions for disability reasons
    • Reasonable substitutions must be made on a case-by-case basis for foods and meals described in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section for individual participants who are considered to have a disability under 7 CFR 15b.3 and whose disability restricts their diet.
      • A written statement must support the need for the substitution. The statement must include recommended alternate foods, unless otherwise exempted by FNS, and must be signed by a licensed physician or licensed health care professional who is authorized by State law to write medical prescriptions.
      • A parent, guardian, adult participant, or a person on behalf of an adult participant may supply one or more components of the reimbursable meal as long as the institution or facility provides at least one required meal component.
  • Policy Memorandum on Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program 
    • This memorandum outlines the requirements for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) institutions and facilities and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors (Program operators) to provide reasonable modifications to Program meals or the meal service to accommodate children or adults (participants) with disabilities. This memorandum supersedes FNS Instruction 783-2, Rev. 2. With the release of this memorandum, FNS Instruction 783-2, Rev. 2 has been rescinded.
  • Watch this free webinar for more information on serving children and adults in the CACFP with Disabilities. 
    • Accommodating Participants with Disabilities in Community Meals
      • Get requirement updates related to accommodating participants with disabilities participating in CACFP/SFSP, as required by Federal law, USDA regulations and the Policy Memorandum, Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program to ensure equal access and opportunity. 


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