Four Oaks Family and Children's Services (Four Oaks), Jaymi Johnson, and Tim Cart requested review of a determination by the Iowa Department of Education, Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services (Bureau), which administers the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), proposing termination of the agreement to participate in the CACFP program and disqualification of the appellants from future CACFP participation, effective December 31, 2012.
Four Oaks is a nonresidential child welfare juvenile justice facility that offers afterschool childcare and other community based prevention programs in eastern Iowa. Institutions such as Four Oaks must be approved and supervised by the Bureau, and licensed by the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). All participating institutions must comply with the terms and conditions set by the Agricultural Risk Protection Act and its regulations.
The CACFP regulations at 7 C.F.R. ? 226.6(c)(3) enumerate reasons why an institution may be terminated from program participation. Being cited as seriously deficient and not correcting all deficiencies is cause for termination. When a State agency declares an institution seriously deficient and identifies current employees as responsible parties for the serious deficiencies, the State agency must hold the institution and the responsible parties accountable for the serious deficiencies and continue the serious deficiency process through to its completion.
While the federal regulations make mention of a participant's voluntary termination from the CACFP program after receiving a notice of serious deficiencies, those regulations simply provide that voluntary termination will still result in formal termination and placement of the participant and responsible individuals on a national disqualified list. 7 C.F.R. ? 226.6. These regulations do not stand for the proposition that a participant could avoid the consequences of the serious deficiency process by voluntarily withdrawing from CACFP before receiving formal notice of serious deficiencies.
While, the federal regulations in 7 C.F.R. ? 216.16 permit the Bureau to give more time to a recipient to correct a serious deficiency, they provide no authority for the Bureau or the undersigned to overlook the serious deficiencies and the lack of correction of the same. When an institution's participation in CACFP is terminated, both the institution and all responsible individuals must be placed on a national disqualified list. A responsible individual is any person who, whether compensated or not, is determined by the Bureau to be responsible for an institution's serious deficiency. The CACFP regulations at 7 C.F.R. ? 226.6 do not provide an opportunity for a settlement conference once a party has received notice of proposed termination and disqualification, therefore Iowa Code 17A.10 is not applicable.The regulations governing CACFP are quite strict. While a termination and disqualification from future participation in 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 Four Oaks from the Child and Adult Care Food Program is hereby upheld. Furthermore, the decision to disqualify Four Oaks and Tim Cart from further CACFP participation in the future is also upheld. The decision to disqualify Jaymi Johnson is reversed.