DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 20: Special Information
20-2  Purchasing Snacks or Meals for Clients
Special Information
20-2 Purchasing Snacks or Meals for Clients
Reference Points
Overview
Who Comes Under the Term "Client"
Guidelines for Snack and Meal Costs for Client's Meals
Reimbursement for the Unplanned Purchases of Snacks or Meals for Clients
Reimbursement for the Planned Purchases of Snacks or Meals for Clients
Reimbursement for Purchasing Meals for Clients during Extended Travel
Reimbursing a Client for a Snack or Meal
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: TBA
Last Updated: 4/16/10
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Request for Taxpayer Identification
MS Word DFCS Special Funds Request (SCZ 414Z) for Travel (on the S:drive)
MS Word DFCS Special Funds Request (SCZ414Z)- Snacks  (on the S:drive)


Overview  

Currently, there is standing pre-approval for the purchase of snacks and meals by social workers for clients of the Department of Family and Children's Services (DFCS). 

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Who Comes Under the Term "Client"   For the purposes of this policy, "client" can mean the child, parent, relative, and any other person who is party to the case.  Other individuals who are present at the time a snack or meal is purchased but are not clients should not be excluded from having a snack or meal purchased for them.  Purchasing snacks or meals for clients should not be a common practice, and purchasing snacks or meals for individuals who are not party to the DFCS case should be a rare occurrence.
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Guidelines for Snack and Meal Costs for Client's Meals  

There is no allowable per diem amount for meals or snacks for a client.  Receipts are required for every meal or snack. Guidelines for client meal costs is the amount allowed for an employee which is:

Breakfast

$ 7.00

Lunch

$ 8.00

Dinner

$15.00

 

  • If necessary, the rate may be extended to up to twice the basic allowable cost for each meal.

  • A receipt is required for all snacks or meals purchased for or by a client, regardless of the cost.
  • Alcoholic beverages are non-reimbursable.
  • Per County Memo, dated July 1, 2009, county dollars cannot be used to purchase sugar-sweetened beverages.  Acceptable beverages include:
    • Water (with no additives)
    • 100% fruit drinks
    • Dairy milk: 1% or 2% only - no flavored milk
    • Plant derived milks, such as rice, almond, soy, etc. - no flavored milk
    • Artificially-sweetened, calorie-reduced beverages that do not exceed 50 calories per 12-ounce container (teas, electrolyte replacements)
    • Other non-caloric beverages, such as coffee, tea, and diet sodas
  • A 15 % tip may be added to meal totals (before tax).
  • The total cost of a meal with tax and tip may not exceed the maximums set for the extended rates.
  • The agency will not process a cash advancement for the purchase of snacks or meals for clients.

Social workers are advised to be judicious in their choice of restaurants when hosting a client so that costs are kept close to the basic rate.

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Reimbursement for the Unplanned Purchase of Snacks or Meals for Clients  

Social workers may be reimbursed for the unplanned purchase of snacks or meals for a client, for example, when transporting a client to a court hearing or appointment and unexpected delays occur such as continuance of a hearing.  These types of unplanned purchases should not be routine and should only occur when an unexpected circumstance arises.

For reimbursement, the social worker:

  • Retains all receipts for snacks or meals purchased for the client for which reimbursement is to be claimed.
  • Completes a County of Santa Clara Direct Pay Requisition.
    • To locate the Direct Pay Requisition form, go into the SCZ 414Z master list and select "Snacks."
      • Enable macros from the Security Warning bar in the browser near the top of the computer screen.
    • Obtain the Social Services Program Manager's signature on the form.
  •  
  • Attaches the receipts for the client's snack or meal to the Direct Pay Requisition.
  • Submits the Direct Pay Requisition directly to Accounts Payable, 333 W. Julian Campus, Bldg. 1, 2nd floor.

 

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Reimbursement for the Planned Purchases of Snacks or Meals for Clients  

There are situations when the social worker is able to plan ahead for purchasing snacks or meals for a client.  In these cases, the social worker submits a request for pre-approval of snack or meal purchases to avoid the possibility that the reimbursement request will be questioned or denied.  These situations may include the purchase of meals for several individuals, e.g. a family travels to Santa Clara County from another county for a day for a pre-placement visit with a child.  Another situation might be the purchase of several meals for one individual, e.g. a relative who travels to Santa Clara County from out-of-state and stays here for several days to visit with a child for a pre-placement visit.  To request a pre-approval, the social worker submits a DFCS Request Fund - Travel (SCZ 414Z), signed by the bureau Social Services Program Manager, to the DFCS travel coordinator for pre-approval for the purchase of the snacks or meals with the approximate expected cost.   The DFCS travel coordinator contacts the social worker to inform the worker when the pre-approval has been approved.

For reimbursement, the social worker:

  • Gathers or retains all receipts for snacks or meals purchased for the client for which reimbursement is to be claimed.

  • Completes a County of Santa Clara Direct Pay Requisition.
    • To locate the Direct Pay Requisition, go into the SCZ 414Z master list and select "Snacks."
      • Enable macros from the Security Warning bar in the browser near the top of the computer screen.
    • Obtain the Social Services Program Manager's signature on the form.
     
  • Attaches the receipts for the client's snack(s) and/or meal(s) to the Direct pay Requistion.
  • Submits the Direct Pay Requisition to the DFCS travel coordinator.
    • The coordinator processes the paper worker and forwards the  request to Accounts Payable, 333 W. Julian Campus, Bldg. 1, 2nd floor.
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Reimbursement for Purchasing Meals for Clients during Extended Travel  

Social workers may purchase meals or snacks for a client during an extended trip, for example, when the worker is accompanying a child to visit a relative in another state. 

For reimbursement, the social worker:

  • Includes the estimated cost of meals for the client on the Travel Authorization form.
    • If the Travel Authorization is submitted for a cash advancement, do not include the cost of meals for the client, because a cash advancement for a client meal is not permitted.
    • Keep all receipts for meals purchased for the client as there is no per diem allowance for a client's meals, and meals for clients will not be reimbursed without a receipt, regardless of the cost.
  • Submits the final Trip Expense Voucher and include the cost of meals for the client.
    • Receipts must be attached to the Trip Expense Voucher for all snacks and meals purchased for a client.  Reimbursement will not be issued for a snack or meal for which the social worker does not have a receipt.
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Reimbursing a Client Directly for a Snack or Meal  

The Agency will not issue an advance payment to clients for meals.  However, the Agency may agree to reimburse a client for a snack or meal purchased by the client.  For example, relatives of a child may choose to travel to California from out-of-state for a pre-placement visit lasting several days with a child. The DFCS may determine that the visit would create a hardship for the family and that providing financial assistance to the relatives would be in the child's interest, i.e. the relatives would not be able to travel for the pre-placement visit without financial assistance.   In this example, when a relative may be staying in the area for several days, it is unlikely that the social worker would be able to join the relative for every snack or meal.  To request a pre-approval for reimbursement on behalf of the client, the social worker submits a DFCS Request Fund - Travel (SCZ 414Z), signed by the bureau Social Services Program Manager, to the DFCS travel coordinator with the approximate expected cost.   The DFCS travel coordinator contacts the social worker to inform the worker when the pre-approval has been approved.

To request reimbursement on behalf of the client, the social worker:

  • Has the client fill out a Request for Taxpayer Identification (W-9).

  • Advises the client to:
    • Save all receipts for snack and meals for which the client wants to be reimbursed.
      • Reimbursement for a snack or meal will not be issued without a receipt.
    • Choose eating venues that will keep costs reasonable and within the cost guidelines noted in the section above.
      • Explain the cost guidelines to the client and request that the client keep the cost close to the basic rate.

  • Obtains receipts from the client for all snacks or meals for which the client wants to be reimbursed.
    • Snacks or meals without a receipt will not be reimbursed.
  • Completes the Direct Pay Requisition.
    • To locate the Direct Pay Requisition, go into the SCZ 414Z master list and select "Snacks."
      • Enable macros from the Security Warning bar in the browser near the top of the computer screen.

  • Attaches original receipts to the Direct Pay Requisition.
    •  Receipts for all snacks or meals for which the client wants to be reimbursed must be attached to the request.
    • The client's name and address is written in the vendor field on theDirect Pay Requisition.


  • Submits the Direct Pay Requisition directly to Accounts Payable, 333 W. Julian Campus, Bldg. 1, 2nd floor.

The reimbursement warrant (check) is sent directly to the client.

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Other References  
PDF Santa Clara County Beverage Nutritional Criteria
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