7 CFR 253.4 - Administration.
(a) Federal administration. Within the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) shall be responsible for the Food Distribution Program. FNS shall have the power to determine the amount of any claim and to settle and adjust any claim.
(b) State agency administration.
(1) If FNS determines that the ITO is capable of effective and efficient administration, the ITO shall administer the Food Distribution Program on all or part of the reservation. If FNS determines that the ITO is not capable of effective and efficient administration of the Food Distribution Program, the appropriate agency of the State government shall be responsible for the Food Distribution Program on all or part of the Indian reservation. In addition, the appropriate agency of the State government may administer the Program on behalf of an otherwise capable tribe if agreed to in writing by both parties.
(2) In the case where the Indian reservation boundaries cross State lines, the ITO and appropriate State agencies may jointly request FNS approval that a single State agency administer the Food Distribution Program on all or part of the Indian reservation.
(3) An agency of State government responsible for administering the Food Distribution Program may contract Program functions to an ITO. These functions include, but are not limited to, outreach, preparation of bilingual materials, commodity issuance, determination of food preferences of households, publicizing uses of commodities, and transportation and on-site delivery services. The State agency may also use the ITO in prescreening translations, interpretive services and other noncertification functions. The State agency shall not contract responsibility for certification activities such as interviews or eligibility determinations with an ITO that has been determined incapable of administering the Food Distribution Program. In all cases the State agency shall retain full responsibility for program administration.
(c) Qualification as a reservation.
(1) The appropriate ITO of an established Indian reservation will qualify for participation under the provisions of this part, when that ITO files an application which demonstrates the status of an area as an established reservation, unless FNS determines that such area(s) does not qualify as a reservation as that term is defined in these regulations. For purposes of this part, established reservation means the geographically defined area(s) currently recognized and established by Federal or State treaty or by Federal statute whereby such geographically defined area(s) is set aside for the use of Indians. Where such established areas exist, the appropriate ITO is presumed to exercise governmental jurisdiction, unless otherwise determined by FNS.
(ii) A clear and precise description of the boundaries of such geographic area(s).
(d) Application by an ITO. Any ITO which desires to participate in the Food Distribution Program shall file an application with the FNS Regional Office serving the State or States in which the reservation is located. The ITO shall specify if it is requesting the Food Distribution Program alone or concurrently with the Food Stamp Program. The ITO shall also specify whether it wants either or both programs on all or part of the reservation, and if on part, shall describe the geographic boundaries of the relevant part(s). Additionally, if the ITO wishes to serve areas near the reservation, the ITO shall describe the geographic boundaries of the near area(s) for FNS review and approval. Any urban place inside a reservation can be served by the Food Distribution Program. Any urban place outside reservation boundaries may not be served. However, an ITO or State agency can request the Department to change those limitations with justification. The ITO application shall also provide other information requested by FNS, including but not limited to, that the ITO serves an established reservation or a reservation otherwise qualified as described in paragraph (c) of this section. Properly addressed applications shall be acknowledged by the FNS Regional Office in writing within five working days of receipt.
(e) Tribal capability.
(1) In determining whether the ITO on a given reservation is potentially capable of effectively and efficiently administering a Food Distribution Program, allowing for fulfillment of that potential through training and technical assistance, FNS shall consult with other sources, such as the BIA, and shall consider the ITO's experience, if any, in operating other government programs and its management and fiscal capabilities. Other factors for evaluation include, but are not limited to, the ITO's ability to:
(i) Order and properly store commodities,
(ii) Certify eligible households,
(iii) Arrange for physical issuance of commodities,
(iv) Keep appropriate records and submit required reports,
(v) Budget and account for administrative funds,
(vi) Determine the food preferences of households, and
(vii) Conduct on-site reviews of certification and distribution procedures and practices.
(2) The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) shall make a determination of potential Indian Tribal Organization (ITO) capability within 30 days of receipt of a completed application for the Food Distribution Program. FNS shall promptly advise ITOs of the need for additional information if an incomplete application is received.
(3) FNS shall, if requested by an ITO which has been determined by FNS to be potentially capable of administering a Food Distribution Program, provide the ITO's designees with appropriate training and technical assistance to prepare the ITO to take over program administration. In determining what training and technical assistance are necessary, FNS shall consult with the ITO and other sources, such as the BIA.