CACFP Family Day Care Homes Meal Claims Feasibility Study
Under the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act (IPERIA) of 2012, federal agencies must periodically review and identify programs that may be susceptible to significant improper payments, including the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). To comply with IPERIA, this study sought to design and test a data collection method that enables FNS to better estimate the number of meals claimed in error by family day care homes (FDCHs). Specifically, the study focused on accurately measuring meals that are claimed for reimbursement but not served and assessed the potential of the reporting system for national-level adoption.
Non-representative samples of 63 FDCH providers and 174 parents of 215 children in Virginia and Texas used two smartphone applications to report real time meal-serving times and daily drop-off and pick-up times for their children. Two different analytical approaches estimated similar overall meal claiming error rates (percentage of meals that were over-claimed) of approximately 18 to 21 percent. Study limitations, particularly low participation and response rates from the providers and parents, prevent the generalizability of findings and the use of this approach for national implementation. Specifically, missing data necessitated imputation for a large percentage of the study data. Imputation on a national scale would be time consuming and could potentially introduce error.