Special Diets in CACFP Adult Day Care Centers


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The Connecticut State Department of Education's (CSDE) guide, Accommodating Special Diets in CACFP Adult Day Care Centers, provides guidance on meal modifications for CACFP adult particpants with special dietary needs, based on the federal nondiscrimination laws and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations. This guide applies to CACFP adult day care centers.

Participants with a Disability  |   Participants without a Disability
Guidance and Resources  |   Developing Policy and SOPs for Meal Modifications

Participants with a Disability

The USDA requires reasonable meal modifications on a case-by-case basis for adult participants whose disability restricts their diet, based on a medical statement signed by a recognized medical authority. “Case-by-case basis” means that the meal modifications are specific to the individual medical condition and dietary needs of each adult participant. The Connecticut State Department of Public Health defines a recognized medical authority as a state-licensed health care professional who is authorized to write medical prescriptions under state law. This includes licensed physicians (doctors of medicine or osteopathy), physician assistants, and advanced practice registered nurses (APRN).

Participants without a Disability

The USDA allows, but does not require, meal modifications for adult participants whose special dietary needs do not constitute a disability. Examples of optional modifications include requests related to religious or moral convictions, general health concerns, and personal food preferences, such as adult participants who prefers a gluten-free diet or organic foods because they believe it is healthier. CACFP adult day care centers may choose to make these accommodations on a case-by-case basis. Meal modifications for adult participants without disabilities must comply with the CACFP adult meal patterns

Guidance and Resources

Developing Policy and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Meal Modifications

The CSDE recommends that CACFP facilities develop a written policy and SOPs for meal modifications in the CACFP. For information on developing policies, go to What's Next in the left navigation bar.

Nondiscrimination Statements (USDA and CSDE)