Sara Ross runs a child daycare home in Ankeny. 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. Under CACFP, Ms. Ross is a "provider."
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 contemporaneous detailed, accurate records of the provider's menus, as well as of the attendance and meals/snacks served to each individual child in the care of the provider.
The participation of providers in CACFP is supervised by a sponsor, in this case Polk County Community Family & Youth. 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 specifies that a provider shall keep required records. Required records include, but are not limited to, attendance, meal pattern, meal counts, and menu records.
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 failure to maintain records.Not only does precedent in caselaw protect Ms. Ross, the "Due Process Clause also protects the interests in fair notice and repose that may be compromised by retroactive legislation; a justification sufficient to validate a statute's prospective application under the Clause'may not suffice' to warrant its retroactive application." Usery v. Turner Elkhorn Mining Co., 428 U.S. 1, 17, 96 S.Ct. 2882, 2893, 49 L.Ed.2d 752 (1976).
Polk County Community Family & Youth was ill-advised by the State Agency to immediately move to terminate Ms. Ross's agreement and disqualify her from the CACFP program, basing such action on a retroactive law.Furthermore, even assuming that Polk County Community Family & Youth had legal justification to rely on the retroactive law, it has not been shown that Ms. Ross was again seriously deficient. There is no dispute that the data for August 2014 did not ultimately end up where it was to be. However, this was not for lack of effort by Ms. Ross. She proved that she thought in good faith that she had taken the necessary steps to provide the information. In addition, she was not given the five "grace days" to discover the glitch and enter the information before her sponsor acted.CACFP uses public resources to reimburse providers, and the regulations for participation are quite strict. However, they are not so strict as to permit disregard of a provider's good faith efforts, as demonstrated by her letter from Sprint and by her compliance once the glitch was discovered.
The proposed termination and proposed disqualification of Sara Ross from the Child and Adult Care Food Program is hereby dismissed. Ms. Ross may continue with full participation in the CACFP.