The Connecticut State Department of Education's (CSDE) Accommodating Special Diets in CACFP Child Care Programs provides guidance on meal modifications for children and infants with special dietary needs, based on the federal nondiscrimination laws and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations. This guide applies to CACFP child care centers (including at-risk afterschool care centers and emergency shelters) and family day care homes.
Children with a Disability
The USDA requires reasonable meal modifications on a case-by-case basis for children and infants whose disability restricts their diet, based on a medical statement signed by a recognized medical authority. The Connecticut State Department of Public Health defines a recognized medical authority as licensed physicians (doctors of medicine or osteopathy), physician assistants, and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse anesthetists who are licensed as APRNs.
Children without a Disability
The USDA allows, but does not require, meal modifications for children and infants whose special dietary needs do not constitute a disability, including those related to religious or moral convictions, general health concerns, and personal food preferences, such as a preference that a child eats a gluten-free diet because a parent believes it is better for the child. CACFP facilities may choose to make these accommodations on a case-by-case basis. All meal modifications for children without disabilities must comply with the CACFP meal patterns for children and all meal modifications for infants without disabilities must comply with the CACFP infant meal patterns.
Nondiscrimination Statements (USDA and CSDE)