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Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions


To accommodate and ensure the safety of children who have food allergies and other dietary restrictions or special needs.



1.   Through an interview with the parent/guardian, staff will document all diagnosed and suspected food allergies and/or dietary restrictions/needs on the Child Enrollment and Health Information Form.

2.   If the dietary restriction is due to a diagnosed allergy, disability or medical condition, specific documentation and information regarding the allergy, disability or medical condition, specific documentation and information regarding the allergy/condition must be obtained from the child’s physician/health care provider. A completed Medical Care Plan (MCP) will be used for documentation.  If additional instructions are required, the child’s physician/health care provider will complete an individual health plan

3.   It is mandatory to have a doctor’s statement in place to be able to accommodate each center-based child’s dietary needs. Home-based socialization meals will be planned intentionally to avoid exposure to food restrictions, a medical statement is not necessary. Early Head Start/Home-based parents or guardians may now request in writing non-dairy milk substitutions without providing a medical statement per CACFP rules.

4.   NOCAC Head Start will work with teachers and parents to ensure dietary restrictions that are personal (religious/cultural) will be accommodated, if possible. Parents must provide a statement for this type of restriction.

5.   NOCAC staff will submit the MCP to the Nutrition Manager to ensure that needed follow-up occurs and all CACFP paperwork is on file.

  • Home-based Early Head Start will follow the same process and incorporate the “parent preference letter” for children 0-11 months old.
  • Home-based children 12 months to 3 years will have a completed Medical Care Plan form. This is for reference only.
  • Home-Based children are under the supervision of their parent or other adult during socializations and home visits and are not monitored by ODJFS rules and regulations. The Nutrition Manger tracks dietary needs of all enrolled children.  Service area managers will reach out to the Home Visitor if additional documentation is needed beyond the Medical Care Plan.

6.   A list of center-based children with food allergies/dietary restrictions will be kept confidential on the center refrigerator using the “Attention” cover sheet.  If centers choose to post home-based restrictions on the refrigerator, they must be under separate cover.

    • Substitutions are logged and submitted to the Nutrition Manager with the monthly CACFP paperwork.
    • Medical Care Plans for home-based children will be shared with relevant support staff via the home visitor. A copy will be sent to the Central Office for the Nutrition Manager.


7.   Physician reports, nutrition assessment information, individual plans and follow-up will be maintained in the child’s individual health record.

8.   The Nutrition Manger monitors allergy/dietary restriction plans and records in ChildPlus.

9.   For children with diets that require significant amounts of monitoring and extra preparation from the kitchen, special menus will be developed in consultation with the Registered Dietitian. Relevant staff will be trained.

10. All NOCAC staff, including temporary and substitutes, that are responsible for the group care of children, must be informed about each child’s dietary restrictions by the teachers and other direct service staff.


Forms and Additional Guidance:

Child Enrollment and Health Information Form.

“Attention” cover sheet

Medical Care Plan

This policy complies with the following

Head Start Program Performance Standard:    1302.44 (a) (1)
ODJFS Child Care Manual:    5101:2-12-22 (A) (6)
CACFP Regulation:    
Caring for Our Children:
Other Sources:    
Adopted with Board & Policy Council Approvals:    
Revised with Board & Policy Council Approvals:   03/13/23
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