Child and Adult Care Food Program: Appeal Process

A Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) operator may appeal certain actions taken by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) against the operator. This web page outlines the procedure for operators that wish to appeal actions taken by the CDSS. When taking action against an operator, the CDSS will provide the operator with a written notice of action that explains the operator’s right to appeal and refers the operator to the procedures on this web page. The most common appealable action for the CACFP is the assessment of an overpayment resulting from administrative review (AR) or audit findings; however, CACFP regulations identify certain actions that operators have the right to appeal. For further information, please review the appealable actions by using the link below.

Child and Adult Care Food Program Appealable Actions

If your organization has received a written notice of action from the CDSS that states that your organization may appeal the action(s) being taken, follow these procedures to request an appeal:

Written Request for an Appeal

  • The operator’s written request for an appeal must be postmarked no later than 15 calendar days after receipt of the notice of action. The CDSS will acknowledge the receipt of the appeal request within 10 calendar days.
  • If appealing AR findings, the operator may appeal the accuracy of the findings that generate the fiscal action, but cannot appeal the dollar amount contained in the notice of action for reasons of hardship to the organization.
  • There are three types of hearings: written review, written review with oral argument or oral hearing. An operator may select one of the three types. If the operator does not select a hearing type, a written review will be provided. The three types of hearings are described as follows:
    • Written Review: If the operator requests a written review, the hearing officer will analyze the written documentation provided by the operator and by the CDSS to render a decision.
    • Written Review with Oral Argument: If an operator requests a written review with oral argument, the hearing officer will analyze and render a decision based upon the written statements and documentation provided by the operator and the CDSS. The operator is permitted to come to Sacramento to appear before the hearing officer to explain its case. During the oral argument portion of the proceeding, the operator and the CDSS clarify relevant issues presented in their written statements and documents. Because of the informality of this process, the oral arguments are not considered testimony. The arguments are recorded and the hearing officer may ask questions of either party.
    • Oral Hearing: If an operator requests an oral hearing, the hearing officer will render a decision based upon information submitted into evidence and witness testimony. When this option is specified on the appeal request, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) will schedule a hearing. The operator will be formally notified by the OAH of the oral hearing, date, time, and place at least 10 days prior to the scheduled appointment. All oral hearings are held in Sacramento.

Submitting Written Documentation

  • Written documentation for all types of hearings must be submitted within 30 calendar days from the date the operator received the notice of action.
  • The written documentation must be sent to the OAH and the Program Integrity Unit as follows:
    • Office of Administrative Hearings: The OAH requires all documents to be submitted electronically using their Secure e-File system: OAH Secure e-File
    • Program Integrity Unit: Send by email to

Notice of Hearing Date

  • If a hearing has been requested, the OAH electronically provides the operator and the CDSS with advance written notice of the time, date, and place of the hearing.
  • The OAH provides the operator and the CDSS with at least 10 calendar days advance written notice.
  • The operator may retain legal counsel or may be represented by another person. Failure of the operator’s representative to appear at a scheduled hearing shall constitute the operator’s waiver of the right to a personal appearance before the OAH, unless the OAH agrees to reschedule the hearing or issue a continuance.
  • Any information on which the CDSS’ proposed action is based is available to the operator for inspection from the date of receipt of the request for review.
  • If a written review with oral argument or an oral hearing is chosen, a representative of the CDSS is allowed to attend the hearing to respond to the operator's testimony and to answer questions posed by the OAH.
  • The hearing officer is an independent and impartial officer, other than and not accountable to, any person authorized to make decisions that are subject to appeal under the provisions of the CACFP.
  • The hearing officer has the authority to select another hearing type if she/he determines the issues cannot be fully discussed or clarified under the hearing type originally selected.

Notification of OAH Determination

  • The OAH makes a determination based on information provided by the CDSS, the operator, and CACFP regulations. The determination by the OAH is the final administrative determination available to the operator.
  • The operator will be notified of the determination within 60 calendar days from the date the CDSS received the request for a hearing.
  • The CDSS' action remains in effect during the appeal process.
  • For more information regarding the hearing process, please contact the OAH by phone at 916-263-0550.
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Contact Us

CDSS Child and Adult Care Food Program
744 P Street, MS 9-13-290
Sacramento, CA 95814

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