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(d) Any eligible public institution shall be approved for participation in the child care food program upon its request. Any eligible private institution shall be approved for participation if it (1) has tax exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 or, under conditions established by the Secretary, is moving toward compliance with the requirements for tax exempt status, or (2) is currently operating a Federal program requiring nonprofit status. Family or group day care homes need not have individual tax exempt certification if they are sponsored by an institution that has tax exempt status, or, under conditions established by the Secretary, such institution is moving toward compliance with the requirements for tax exempt status or is currently operating a Federal program requiring nonprofit status. An institution applying for participation under this section shall be notified of approval or disapproval in writing within thirty days after the date its completed application is filed. If an institution submits an incomplete application to the State, the State shall so notify the institution within fifteen days of receipt of the application, and shall provide technical assistance, if necessary, to the institution for the purpose of completing its application.
(e) The State shall provide, in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary, a fair hearing and a prompt determination to any institution aggrieved by the action of the State as it affects the participation of such institution in the program authorized by this section, or its claim for reimbursement under this section.
(f)(1) Funds paid to any State under this section shall be disbursed to eligible institutions by the State under agreements approved by the Secretary. Disbursements to any institution shall be made only for the purpose of assisting in financing the cost of providing meals to children attending institutions, or in family or group day-care homes. Disbursement to any institution shall not be dependent upon the collection of moneys from participating children. All valid claims from such institutions shall be paid within forty-five days of receipt by the State. The State shall notify the institution within fifteen days of receipt of a claim if the claim as submitted is not valid because it is incomplete or incorrect.
(2) The Secretary shall establish maximum per meal reimbursement rates for each of the three categories of institutions specified in subsections (c)(1), (2), and (3) of this section. Such maximum reimbursement rates for lunches and suppers shall be equal to the maximum reimbursement rates established by the Secretary for lunches served under the national school lunch program. The disbursement to any institution for meals provided under this section shall not be less, for any fiscal year, than the sum of the products obtained by multiplying the total number of each type of meal (breakfast, lunch or supper, or supplement) served in such institution in that fiscal year by the applicable national average payment rates for States for each such type of meal at that category of institution, unless the resulting sum exceeds the cost of the institution of providing such meals.
(3) Institutions, other than family or group day care home sponsoring organizations, may elect to receive reimbursement in accordance with the eligibility of each enrolled child for free, reducedprice, or paid meals under section 9 of this Act. Such reimbursement shall be based on (A) the national average payment rates for
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lunches under section 4 of this Act; (B) the national average payment rates for free lunches and reduced-price lunches under section 11 of this Act; (C) the national average payment rates for breakfasts, free breakfasts, and reduced-price breakfasts under section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966; and (D) the national average payment rates for supplements under subsection (c) of this section. Reimbursements to such institutions shall be made under the same procedures for determining such reimbursement levels as were prescribed by regulations in effect on September 30, 1978.
(4) Institutions that participate in the program under this section as family or group day care home sponsoring organizations shall be provided, for payment to such homes, a reimbursement factor in an amount determined by the Secretary to be adequate to cover the cost of obtaining and preparing food and prescribed labor costs, involved in providing meals under this section, without a requirement for documentation of such costs. Such institutions shall also receive reimbursement for their administrative expenses. Reimbursement for administrative expenses shall not exceed maximum allowable levels prescribed by the Secretary. Reimbursement for administrative expenses shall also include start-up funds to finance the administrative expenses for such institutions to initiate successful operation under the program. Such start-up funds shall be in addition to other reimbursement to such insitutions for administrative expenses. Start-up funds shall be payable to enable institutions satisfying the criteria of subsection (d) of this section, and any other standards prescribed by the Secretary, to develop an application for participation in the program as a family or group day care home sponsoring organization or to implement the program upon approval of the application. Such start-up funds shall be payable in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the Secretary. The amount of start-up funds payable to an institution shall be not less than the institution's anticipated reimbursement for administrative expenses under the program for one month and not more than the institution's anticipated reimbursement for administrative expenses under the program for two months.
(5) By the first day of each month of operation, the State shall provide advance payments for the month of each approved institution in an amount that reflects the full level of valid claims customarily received from such institution for one month's operation. In the case of a newly participating institution, the amount of the advance shall reflect the State's best estimate of the level of valid claims such institutions will submit. If the State has reason to believe that an institution will not be able to submit a valid claim covering the period for which such an advance has been made, the subsequent month's advance payment shall be withheld until the State receives a valid claim. Payments advanced to institutions that are not subsequently deducted from a valid claim for reimbursement shall be repaid upon demand by the State. Any prior payment that is under dispute may be subtracted from an advance payment.
(g)(1) Meals served by institutions participating in the program under this section shall consist of a combination of foods that meet minimum nutritional requirements prescribed by the Secretary on the basis of tested nutritional research. Such meals shall be served free to needy children.
(2) No institution may be prohibited from serving breakfast, lunch, supper, and supplements to any eligible child each day, except in the case of institutions that provide care to schoolchildren outside of school hours.
(3) No physical segregation or other discrimination against any child shall be made because of his or her inability to pay, nor shall there be any overt identification of any such child by special tokens or tickets, different meals or meal service, announced or published lists of names, or other means.
(4) Each institution shall, insofar as practicable, use in its food service foods designated from time to time by the Secretary as being in abundance, either nationally or in the food service area, or foods donated by the Secretary.
(h) The Secretary shall donate agricultural commodities produced in the United States for use in institutions participating in the child care food program under this section. The value of such commodities (or cash in lieu of commodities) donated to each State for each school year shall be, at a minimum, the amount obtained by mulitplying the number of lunches and suppers served in participating institutions in that State during that school year by the rate for commodities or cash in lieu thereof established for that school year under section 6(e) of this Act. Any State receiving assistance under this section for institutions participating in the child care food program may, upon application to the Secretary, receive cash in lieu of some or all of the commodities to which it would otherwise be entitled under this subsection. In determining whether to request cash in lieu of commodities, the State shall base its decision on the preferences of individual participating institutions within the State, unless this proves impracticable due to the small number of institutions preferring donated commodities.
(i) For the child care food program, the State plan required under section 11(e) of this Act shall provide, in addition to other information required by regulation or available from regular reporting:
(1) the number of institutions and the number of family or group day care homes participating in the program, together with the average daily attendance in such institutions;
(2) the number of institutions and the number of family or group day care homes in the State that are licensed, approved, or registered or that receive funds under title XX of the Social Security Act, and the number of such institutions and homes that participate in the program authorized under this section;
(3) the action program, the State proposes to undertake to use the Federal funds provided under this section, including the State's plans to (A) extend the program to all eligible institutions (placing priority on reaching institutions in needy areas first), (B) assist family or group day care homes in obtaining sponsoring organizations, and (C) encourage eligible institutions to participate in the program;
(4) a plan for the conduct of audits; and
(5) a plan to monitor program performance and measure progress in achieving program goals. 6) The Secretary shall make available for each fiscal year to States administering the child care food program, for the purpose of conducting audits of participating institutions, an amount up to 2 percent of the funds used by each State in the program under this section, during the second preceding fiscal year.
(k) The Secretary may issue regulations directing States to develop and provide for the use of a standard form of agreement between each family or group day care sponsoring organization and the family or group day care homes participating in the program under such organization, for the purpose of specifying the rights and responsibilities of each party.
(1)(1) The Secretary shall study the administrative costs of institutions participating in the program under this section, including the cost effect of such factors as the types of institutions, the number of children served, and the location of institutions in urban or rural areas. The Secretary may prescribe maximum allowable levels of administrative payments that reflect the costs of institutions participating in the program.
(2) The Secretary shall conduct a study of the food service operations carried out in the program under this section. Such study shall include, but not be limited to (1) an evaluation of meal quality as related to costs; and (2) a determination of whether maximum reimbursement levels should be set for food service costs, including whether different reimbursement levels should be established for self-prepared meals and vendored meals, economics of scale, and differences between food service operations in institutions and family and group day care homes.
(3) The Secretary shall conduct a study on licensing problems faced by institutions and family or group day care homes. Such study shall include, but not be limited to, an evaluation of the licensing requirements under this section.
(4) of the funds appropriated for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1979, to carry out the purposes of this section, not to exceed $2,000,000 shall be available to the Secretary for the purpose of conducting the studies required under paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this subsection. The Secretary shall report the results of such studies to Congress, along with any recommendations the Secretary wishes to make, not later than eighteen months after enactment of the Child Nutrition Amendments of 1978.
(m) In any State where the State is not permitted by law or is otherwise unable to disburse the funds payable to it under this section to any institution in the State, the Secretary shall withhold all funds to which such State would be entitled and shall use such funds for the same purposes and subject to the same conditions as are required of a State.
(n)(1) Of the sums appropriated for each fiscal year to carry out the purposes of this section, $4,000,000 shall be available to the Secretary for the purposes of providing equipment assistance to enable institutions to establish, maintain, and expand the child care food program. The Secretary shall allocate among the States during each fiscal year the funds available under this subsection. Such allocation shall be based on the ratio of the number of children below the age of six in each State who are members of families that satisfy the income standards for free and reduced-price school meals under section 9 of this Act to the number of such children in all States. In making such allocation, the Secretary shall use the most recent data available.
(2) If any State cannot use all of the funds allocated to it under this subsection, the Secretary shall make reallocations to the remaining States in the manner set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection for allocating funds. Payments to any State of funds allocated under this subsection for any fiscal year shall be made upon condition that at least one-fourth of the cost of equipment financed under this subsection shall be financed from sources within the State, except that this condition shall not apply to equipment obtained for institutions that are especially needy, as determined by the State.
(3) Each State shall establish criteria for determining institutions that are especially needy for purposes of this subsection and shall inform all institutions within the State of those criteria. Such criteria shall be submitted to the Secretary for approval and be included in the State plan of operation for the child care food program required by subsection (i) of this section.
(4) Within thirty days of notification by the Secretary to the State of the amount of funds available under this subsection, the State shall notify institutions of the availability of funds for food service equipment. The Secretary shall establish standards to assure prompt action by States on requests by institutions for such funds and shall also prescribe a priority system to be followed by States in allocating funds under this subsection.
(5) The Secretary shall issue regulations authorizing the State to disburse funds under this subsection directly to a supplier of food service equipment if the funds are used to purchase equipment for an institution that (A) meets all the requirements for participation under this section, except for the licensing requirements, and (B) satisfies all the requirements for licensing, except for a requirement for food service equipment. The State shall retain legal title to such equipment until the State and the institution sign an agreement authorizing the institution to participate in the program under this section.
(0) States participating in the program under this section shall provide sufficient training, technical assistance, and monitoring to facilitate expansion and effective operation of the program, and shall take affirmative action to expand the availability of benefits under this section. Such action, at a minimum, shall include annual notification to each nonparticipating institution or family or group day care home within the State that is licensed, approved, or registered, or that receives funds under title XX of the Social Security Act, of the availability of the program, the requirements for program participation, the availability of food service equipment funds under the program, and the application procedures to be followed in the program. The list of institutions so notified each year shall be available to the public upon request. The Secretary shall assist the States in developing plans to fulfill the requirements of this subsection.
(p) Expenditures of funds from State and local sources for the maintenance of food programs for children shall not be diminished as a result of funds received under this section.
(q) States and institutions participating in the program under this section shall keep such accounts and records as may be necessary to enable the Secretary to determine whether there has been compliance with the requirements of this section. Such accounts