The Valley Junction Church of God of West Des Moines, Iowa, runs a nonresidential child daycare program in West Des Moines called the Valley Junction Learning Center. It has participated since June, 2010, in the Child and Adult Care Food Program ["CACFP"], a federal Department of Agriculture program administered in Iowa by the Bureau. The CACFP provides reimbursement for meals and snacks provided to children in daycare homes and centers.
The CACFP regulations at 7 C.F.R. ? 226.16 enumerate reasons why an institution shall be terminated from program participation. Being cited as seriously deficient and not correcting all deficiencies is cause for termination. The Center was cited as seriously deficient, was given appropriate opportunity to take corrective action, and has not fully and permanently corrected the serious deficiencies. The evidence presented amply supports a finding that the Center failed to permanently and completely correct the seriously deficient practices with which it was cited.
When an institution's participation in CACFP is terminated, both the institution and all responsible individuals must be placed on a national disqualified list. Removal from the list is dependent on full and permanent correction of the serious deficiencies that led to placement on the list, as well as repayment in full of any debts owed under CACFP.
The Center received reimbursement for claimed meals served during November and December, but the absence of records to support its claim of meals served requires that the Center be ordered to return to the Bureau the reimbursement it received, $2,178.63. The regulations governing the CACFP are quite strict. While a termination from CACFP may seem harsh, the rationale for the strictness of the regulations is simple. CACFP is funded by public monies; therefore, a recipient of those funds is required to be accountable to the public for how it operates. When such accountability is lacking, the public trust is gone. The Bureau has a duty to hold recipients accountable on behalf of the public. 7 C.F.R. ? 226.16(c). The proposed termination of the Valley Junction Learning Center from the Child and Adult Care Food Program is hereby upheld.