Arkansas Department of Education Statements Supporting Accommodations for Children with Disabilities in the Child Nutrition Programs

Memo Information

Memo Number
FIN-15-122
Memo Date
6/5/2015
Memo Type
Informational
Section
Fiscal & Administrative Services
Regulatory Authority
SP 32-2015, NSLP 210.10(m), SBP 220.8(m), 220.23(d)
Response Required
NO
Attention
Co-op Directors; Elementary Principals; Middle School Principals; High School Principals; Superintendents; Child Nutrition Directors

Contact Information

Memo Text

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is committed to ensuring that all children have access to healthy meals that meet their dietary needs. FNS has facilitated access for children with special dietary needs through the Child Nutrition Programs (National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)) regulations. FNS Instruction is provided in Meal Substitutions for Medical or Other Special Dietary Needs and Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs in the School Nutrition Programs.

The purpose of this memorandum is to expand the list of acceptable medical professionals that may sign a medical statement for meal accommodations in the Child Nutrition Program and recommend alternate foods for children whose disability restricts their diets.
A broader list of medical providers will improve access to meal accommodations for children with special dietary needs while balancing the administrative burden placed on program operators and participants requesting meal accommodations.
Current regulations and guidance require program operators to provide reasonable accommodations for children whose disability restricts their diet for all meals and snacks when supported by a medical statement signed by a licensed physician.

FNS and the Arkansas Department of Education, Child Nutrition Unit have determined that along with licensed physicians, it is reasonable to ALSO permit other recognized medical authorities to complete and sign a medical statement for meal accommodations in the Child Nutrition Programs and recommend alternate foods for children whose disability restricts their diet.

A State recognized medical authority for this purpose is a State licensed health care professional who is authorized to write medical prescriptions under State law. This update is effective immediately.

In Arkansas, those professionals meeting the guidelines are:

Physicians

including those licensed by the Arkansas State Medical Board
the Arkansas State Board of Chiropractic Examiners (Chiropractors)
and the Arkansas Board of Podiatric Medicine (Podiatrists)
Nurse Practitioners (APRNs in family or pediatric practice with prescriptive authority)
Physician Assistants (PAs who work in collaborative practice with a physician)
Dentists

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist may make recommendations for alternate foods for children whose disability restricts their diet, but the medical statement must be signed by one of the professionals listed above.

Note: Clinical Psychologists and Doctors of Naturopathy do not have prescriptive authority in Arkansas.

If you have questions or concerns, please call the Child Nutrition Unit at (501) 324-9502.

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