Child and Adult Care Food Program

To assist States, through grants-in-aid and other means, to initiate and maintain nonprofit food service programs for children and elderly or impaired adults enrolled in nonresidential day care facilities, children attending afterschool care programs in low-income areas, and children residing in emergency

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) operates CACFP in partnership with State administering agencies to provide aid to child and adult care sponsoring organizations, centers, and day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons.

Funds are also made available to the States for expenses associated with CACFP administration.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

See the FNS Regional Offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
State Of New Mexico $ 550,000   2021-10-012023-09-30
Education, Illinois State Board Of $ 2,769,525   2021-10-012023-09-30
State Of New Mexico $ 700,000   2021-10-012023-09-30
Education, Minnesota, Department Of $ 3,163,772   2021-10-012023-09-30
Public Instruction, Wisconsin Dept Of $ 979,496   2021-10-012023-09-30
Michigan Department Of Education $ 2,343,444   2021-10-012023-09-30
Education, Indiana Department Of $ 1,054,183   2021-10-012023-09-30
Education, Iowa Department Of $ 527,704   2021-10-012023-09-30
Education, Ohio Department Of $ 1,405,577   2021-10-012023-09-30
Human Services, Arkansas Department Of $ 350,000   2021-10-012023-09-30

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: A total of 2.08 billion meals were served to approximately 4.3 million children and 500,000 adult participants. A child care center cared for and fed approximately 54 children on an average day and received $37,086 a year in meal reimbursement through CACFP. A family day care home cared for and fed approximately 7 children on an average day and received slightly more than $7,046 a year in meal reimbursement. The number of at-risk afterschool care centers in CACFP rose 15 percent from FY 2015, with an average of 70 children daily. Fiscal Year 2017: FNS anticipates approximately 2.20 billion meals to be served to children and adult participants in child care centers, family day care homes, and adult care centers. New standards will be fully implemented in FY 2017, which will further improve the nutritional quality of the meals served. Fiscal Year 2018: The current estimate projects 2.25 billion meals to be served in child care centers, family day care homes, and adult care centers, which would represent a 2.4 percent increase above the FY 2017 estimate. The change is mainly the result of an anticipated 3.4 percent increase in free meals provided in centers, while meals served in day care homes is projected to decline.

Uses and Use Restrictions

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) makes funds available to States for disbursement to eligible institutions to reimburse their costs in providing meals and snacks to children and adult participants enrolled in nonresidential day care, children attending afterschool care programs, and children residing in emergency shelters.

Disbursement is made on the basis of the number of breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks served, using annually adjusted reimbursement rates specified by law.

CACFP allows reimbursement for up to two meals and one snack served each day to children through the age of 12, children of migrant workers through the age of 15, and persons with disabilities, in child care centers and day care homes.

Adult day care centers receive reimbursement for up to two meals and one snack served each day to enrolled adults who are functionally impaired or age 60 and older.

CACFP also provides reimbursement to emergency shelters for up to three meals served each day to residents age 18 and younger.

In at-risk afterschool care programs, reimbursement is available for one snack and an additional meal served each day, during the regular school year, to children through the age of 18.

All meals must meet USDA standards to be eligible for reimbursement.

Funds are also paid to States for administrative expenses related to Program staffing and oversight, as well as for audit expenses associated with CACFP administration.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

The State or U.S.

Territory agency applies for and signs an agreement to receive Federal funds for disbursement.

The State agency enters into an agreement with each institution that has been approved for participation.

The agreement is permanent and may be amended as necessary to ensure compliance with all Federal requirements.

Institutions must agree to operate a nonprofit food service that is available to all eligible children and adult participants regardless of race, sex, color, national origin, age, or disability.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Approved institutions providing nonresidential day care services may participate in CACFP. Eligible public and nonprofit private organizations may include day care centers, outside-school-hours care centers, family day care homes, and Head Start programs. Private for-profit centers may also participate if at least 25 percent of the children in care (enrolled or licensed capacity, whichever is less) are eligible for free or reduced price school meals or receive benefits under Title XX of the Social Security Act. Also eligible for participation are nonprofit centers which provide nonresidential adult day care, and private for-profit centers if the center receives compensation under Title XIX of the Social Security Act or Title XX, and at least 25 percent of the adults enrolled in the center receive benefits under Title XIX, Title XX, or a combination of both. Emergency shelters which provide shelter and meals to children experiencing homelessness and at-risk after school care programs in low-income areas are also eligible. Any eligible institution may participate in CACFP upon request with State agency approval.


Applicants that are not public or proprietary institutions must furnish evidence of tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is required.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, 'Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.' An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. A child or adult care institution submits a written application to the State agency for participation in CACFP.

Award Procedures

Each State agency enters into a written agreement with FNS for the administration of the Program. An approved child or adult care institution signs a permanent written agreement with the State agency.


Not Applicable.


Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, Sections 9, 11, 14, 16 and 17, as amended, 89 Stat. 522-525, 42 U.S.C. 1758, 1759a, 1762a, 1765 and 1766.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

The State agency must make a decision within 30 calendar days of receiving a complete application from the institution.


The administering agency must provide a hearing procedure for local institution grievances.


The agreement is permanent and may be amended as necessary to ensure compliance with all Federal requirements.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory Formula: Section 17(b) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, 42 U.S.C. 1766, describes the funding formula for cash assistance. Program funds are provided to the States through letters of credit. The States, in turn, use the funds to reimburse institutions for costs of food service operations and to support State administrative expenses. Appropriate rates of reimbursement, multiplied by the number of meals served to eligible children or adult participants, represent the basic Program payment that an institution receives for each meal served. The assigned rates of reimbursement are adjusted annually on July 1. For child care centers, adult day care centers, emergency shelters, and at-risk afterschool care programs, the annual adjustment reflects changes in the Food Away from Home series of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. For day care homes, the adjustment reflects changes in the Food at Home series of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. Donated foods or cash-in-lieu of donated foods are also made available. Program payments to child care or adult day care centers depend on the number and types of meals served to enrolled participants, multiplied by the appropriate rate of reimbursement. Rates for meals served to enrolled children and adult participants in day care centers are determined by their eligibility for free, reduced-price, or paid meals using USDA Income Eligibility Guidelines. All resident children age 18 and younger in eligible emergency shelters receive free meals without application. At-risk afterschool care programs, which must be located in low-income areas, are reimbursed at the free rate for all meals and snacks served to children through age 18. Sponsoring organizations of day care homes are reimbursed for administrative expenses at a national rate based on the number of homes they operate. The level of reimbursement for meals served to enrolled children in day care homes is determined by economic need based on either the location of the day care home, the income of the day care provider, or the income of an individual child's household. Meals served in day care homes to the provider's own children are reimbursable only if those children are determined eligible for free and reduced-price meals, and at least one other nonresident child is participating in the meal service. The reimbursement for food service is passed on by the sponsoring organization to the day care facility. Matching requirements are not applicable to this program. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Assistance is available for the period covered by the agreement. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.

Post Assistance Requirements


Institutions file monthly reports on Program operations to claim reimbursement for meals served.

They must submit final meal claims no later than 60 days after the claiming month.

States must then submit final Program reports to FNS no later than 90 days after the claiming month.

No cash reports are required.

No progress reports are required.

No expenditure reports are required.

No performance monitoring is required.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. Audits may be conducted less frequently under conditions specified in OMB Circular No. A-133. For-profit institutions are subject to audit by their administering State agencies.


Institutions must maintain full and accurate records of Program operations for a period of 3 years after the end of the fiscal year to which they pertain. However, where there are unresolved audit findings, records must be retained until there is satisfactory resolution of all audit issues.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Formula Grants) FY 16 $3,451,559,000; FY 17 est $3,658,373,000; and FY 18 est $3,919,384,000 - Audit funds, not included in the above totals, have been made available to each State for the expense of conducting audits and reviews under 7 CFR 226.8.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

No Data Available.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Program regulations are codified at 7 CFR Part 226.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices. See the FNS Regional Offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

Cynthia Long, 3101 Park Center Drive Room 628, Alexandria, Virginia 22302. Phone: 703-305-2590

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.

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