Civil Rights – Civil Rights compliance in USDA Child Nutrition Programs include requirements for the following:
1. Public Notification – The public purpose of the public notification is to inform applicants, participants and potentially eligible persons of the program availability, program rights and responsibilities, the policy of nondiscrimination and the procedure for filing a complaint. School Food Authorities are provided a Media Release each year as part of the Annual Agreement (or Renewal of the Agreement) with the ADE, Child Nutrition.
2. Racial and Ethnic Data Collection – SFA’s are required to obtain data by race and ethnic category on potentially eligible populations, applicants, and participants in their program service area. This data is collected from the district by ADE and applicants self report on the application for free and reduced priced meals.
3. Proper Handling of Complaints of Discrimination – All NSLP complaints alleging discrimination on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, sex, and/or disability must be processed within the timeframes established by the USDA.
4. Resolution of Noncompliance – Noncompliance may be a finding as a result of a routine compliance review, a special review, or an investigation. Noncompliance if a factual finding that any Civil Rights requirements, as provided by law, regulation, policy, instruction or guidelines, is not being met.
5. Civil Rights Training – ANNUAL Civil Rights Training is required so that people involved in all levels of administration of programs that receive Federal financial assistance understand civil rights related laws, regulations, procedures, and instructions. Arkansas Civil Rights Training for Managers and Employees (PDF)
6. Disability Compliance – SFA’s musty ensure persons with disabilities are provided an equal opportunity to participate in FNS programs. This includes provision of the necessary auxiliary aids and/or services to ensure that communications with disabled individuals are as effective as communication with others. Effective communication meals that whatever is written or spoken must be as clear and understandable to people with disabilities as it is for people who do not have disabilities. Effective communication is required except where a state or local government can show that providing effective communication would fundamentally alter the nature of the service or program in question or would result in an undue financial or administrative burden. Title II of the ADA/ADAAA prohibits discrimination based on disability by state and local government. The ADA and Section 504 cover issues pertaining to both physical access and program access. Section 508 covers issues pertaining to information technology access (web based information, etc.).
7. Limited English Proficiency - The USDA Translated Applications website includes translation resources available for use by School Districts.
The Spanish language application and letters are included on this USDA website.
Translations for Applications intended to be used directly by SFAs to distribute to families (LINK)
And Justice for All Posters - The Civil Rights poster is required to be displayed in a prominent location at each site where it is visible to all participants of Child Nutrition Programs. Contact ADE, CNU at (501) 324-9502 if additional copies of the poster are needed.
FNS Instruction 113-1
Civil Rights Compliance and Enforcement – Nutrition Programs and Activities (PDF
USDA’s Civil Rights
web page (LINK
Meaningful Access for Persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) in the School Meal Programs: Guidance and Questions and Answers (Q&A)
Revised Nondiscrimination Statement and Required Posting Information and Deadlines
Guidance on Prohibition of Separation by Gender during Child Nutrition Program Meal Service
Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in School Meal Programs, USDA webinar, April 2017 (PDF
For more information, please contact:
Sheila Chastain, MSE, RD, LD, Associate Directo
Child Nutrition Unit
Arkansas Department of Education
2020 W. Third Street, Suite 404
Little Rock, AR 72205
Phone: (501) 324-9502
Fax: (501) 324-9505