Tennessee Department of Human Services and USDA Food Nutrition Services Strengthens Partnership Focused on Improving Food Programs

Thursday, February 11, 2016 | 05:56pm

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) and USDA Food Nutrition Services (FNS) strengthens partnership focused on developing an improvement plan for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

The Tennessee Department of Human Services and USDA FNS recently closed out the regular review process for federal fiscal year 2015 and TDHS received the final results. For the first time in the partnership between TDHS and USDA FNS, the agencies are collaborating on a new model designed to improve overall program impact and program integrity.

“I value the partnership USDA FNS is building with Tennessee and I hope this effort will help us both better serve the needs of children and families in Tennessee,” said USDA FNS Regional Administrator, Robin Bailey.

In 2015 TDHS and USDA FNS kicked off the first phase of the new partnership with a focus on improving program impact by increasing the number of meals served in the summer food service program during summer 2015. This resulted in an increase in the number of meals served by approximately 3.6 percent in only one year.

“We are committed to ensuring that no Tennessee child goes hungry,” said DHS Commissioner Dr. Raquel Hatter. “Continuously working in partnership USDA FNS with this plan to increase program impact and program integrity goes a long way towards making that happen.”

Some of the improvement opportunities identified include:

1. In some cases, timeliness of approval for applications and appeals
2. In some cases, miscalculations of advanced payments
3. In some cases, improvement of record keeping

The first planning session for 2016 will be held next week. As a part of this effort, TDHS will do a call for feedback on identified items from food program partners across the state.

In Tennessee, one in four children faces hunger daily. Community partners and sponsors play an integral role in reaching children where they are. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded program intended to ensure that children who benefit from free and reduced price meals during the school year, have access to nutritious meals during the summer months. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federally funded program that provides reimbursement for eligible meals that are served to participants who meet age and income requirements. CACFP provides aid to child and adult care institutions and family or group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons.

To add your strength to the effort to end hunger, send an email to NoHungryTennesseeChild.DHS@tn.gov.  Join the call to action for Tennesseans to fight hunger in their local communities by donating, volunteering, raising awareness and other activities that support the end of hunger.

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Contact:  Stephanie Jarnagin

Office:  615-313-3899