Child and Adult Care Food Program


USDA Issues New Proposed CACFP Nutrition Standards

Today (January 9) U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the proposed rule (pdf) for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) setting healthier meal patterns and nutrition standards for Head Start, child care, and afterschool programs.

The proposed new rule aims to make a good program even better. Revising the meal pattern and nutrition standards will strengthen the Child and Adult Care Food Program’s role in addressing the nutritional shortfalls in our nation’s children’s diets and helping to address the obesity crisis.

We now have the opportunity to closely read the new rule and develop comments within the 90 day deadline. USDA asks for feedback on a number of important issues in the rule.

Next steps:

January 29 at 1:30 p.m. ET: Join us for a webinar, “New Healthier CACFP Meal Standards: What you need to know,” featuring USDA and FRAC experts.

March 1 – 2: Plan to attend the CACFP workshop track, Charting the Course for the Future of CACFP, to work together on commenting on the proposed rule, at the FRAC/Feeding America/CACFP Forum annual policy conference.

FRAC will be circulating suggestions and model comments.

USDA has issued a press release (pdf) with a brief overview of the rule.

Contact Geri Henchy if you have any questions or points you’d like to relay:, (202) 986-2200, extension 3025.

Paperwork Reduction

USDA has released a series of memos related to CACFP in FY2013. The most recent – Existing Flexibilities in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (pdf) – highlights what the current USDA requirements are for key areas of CACFP involvement. USDA encourages State agencies to take advantage of the flexibilities available in the regulations to simplify CACFP. FRAC has developed a worksheet that can be used to evaluate current state policies and to identify opportunities for reducing paperwork requirements and barriers to participation.

The key areas addressed in the memo and worksheet are: enrollment documentation, payments, training, single agreements, applications, infant meals, meal production records, media release, procurement methods, and sign-in & sign-out sheets.

The worksheet is available as Word document and a fillable pdf.

Revision of Census Eligibility Data for CACFP and SFSP

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has recently released revised census data for use in area eligibility determinations for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Due to an error in data provided by the Census Bureau, a small percent of census block groups were incorrectly categorized as being eligible for the programs. FNS released a memo (pdf) on April 26 to clarify the issue and how it affects SFSP sites and CACFP homes that have already been determined.

The memo explains which CACFP homes and SFSP sites need to be re-determined. To help you easily identify if your site/program is in an affected area, FRAC has created a map of all of the affected census block groups across the county.

FRAC’s Child and Adult Care Food Program Mapper and the Summer Food Target Mapper were updated with the correct data. All determinations made as of April 6th are valid. Determinations made before that date must be reviewed according to the memo’s guidance.


USDA Announces Wellness Grants in the Child and Adult Care Food Program

New IOM Report: Child and Adult Care Food Program: Aligning Dietary Guidance for All

FRAC’s Geri Henchy contributes as member of IOM Committee to Review CACFP Meal Requirements

2012 Participation:

The program provided over 1.9 billion meals and snacks to:

  • over 3.4 million children daily in child care centers, family care homes, and after-school programs;
  • over 118,000 persons in Adult Day Care;
  • nearly 55,000 child care centers;
  • Nearly 128,000 family child care providers working with 848 sponsors use CACFP to provide children with high quality nutrition and learning experiences.

Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act Implementation

USDA is issuing policy memos, available on the agency’s implementation web page, to offer guidance on implementing the act.


The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) pays for nutritious meals and snacks for eligible children who are enrolled at participating:

Child Care Centers & Family Child Care Homes:
Young children attending participating family child homes, child care centers or Head Start programs can receive up to two meals and a snack that meet USDA nutritional standards. The majority of CACFP participants are preschool-aged children. Eligibility is based either on the poverty status of the area or on the income of the enrolled children.

Afterschool Programs
School-based afterschool programs providing enrichment activities for children and teenagers after school can also provide free snacks through CACFP in areas where at least 50 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. CACFP funds also can pay for suppers for children attending afterschool programs.

Homeless Shelters
CACFP provides up to three meals a day for children age 18 and younger living in homeless shelters.

CACFP also provides meals and snacks to senior citizens attending nonresidential day care centers.

Studies show that children in CACFP receive meals that are nutritionally superior to those served to children in child care settings without CACFP. Children in participating institutions have higher intakes of key nutrients, fewer servings of fats and sweets, than children in non-participating care. Research cites participation in CACFP as one of the major factors influencing quality care – 87 percent of the family child care homes considered to be providing quality child care participated in CACFP. CACFP also makes child care and afterschool programs more affordable for low-income parents, who rely on these programs to provide a safe and healthy place for their children. 87 percent of the family child care homes considered to provide good quality care participate in CACFP.