Maria Payne runs a child daycare home in Muscatine. She participated in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture through the Iowa Department of Education's Bureau of Nutrition Programs. In the parlance of CACFP, Ms. Payne is a "provider."The CACFP is a federal program that provides reimbursement for meals and snacks provided by providers to children in daycare homes and centers. A provider is required to keep detailed, accurate records of the provider's menus, as well as of the attendance and meals/snacks served to each child in the care of the provider.
The participation of providers in CACFP is supervised by a sponsor, in this case Community Action of Eastern Iowa. To participate in CACFP in Iowa, the provider must possess a certification of registration from the Iowa Department of Human Services, and must sign an agreement that provides for the terms and conditions of program participation. One of the provisions in the agreement rather self-evidently specifies that a provider shall not submit a false claim to the sponsor for reimbursement.
The regulations at 7 CFR ? 226.16 enumerate reasons why a daycare home provider may be terminated from CACFP. Being cited as "seriously deficient" and not correcting the deficiency is one cause for termination. A serious deficiency includes the provider's making of false claims. 7 CFR ? 226.16(/)(2)(ii).
Ms. Payne successfully corrected her first serious deficiency, allowing the sponsor to temporarily defer a determination of serious deficiency under 7 CFR ? 226.16(/)(3)(ii). The federal regulation provides, "However, if the sponsoring organization accepts the provider's corrective action, but later determines that the corrective action was not permanent or complete, the sponsoring organization must then propose to terminate the provider's Program agreement and disqualify the provider, as set forth in paragraph (1)(3)(iii) of this section." /d. This is what occurred here.
The regulations governing CACFP are quite strict, purposefully so. 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 provider is required to be accountable to the public for how s/he operates. When such accountability is lacking, the public trust is gone, and the sponsor is required to take appropriate action. Put another way, the sponsor has a duty, no matter how unpleasant at times that duty may be, to hold its providers accountable on behalf of the public.
For the foregoing reasons, the termination of Maria Payne from the Child and Adult CareFood Program is hereby ordered.