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USDA Proposed New Rules Affecting CACFP: What you need to know

Watch the recorded webinar covering the two recently proposed USDA rules impacting the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Join USDA and FRAC to learn what you need to know about USDA’s proposed rules covering CACFP meal modifications, a request for input on allowing grain-based desserts in CACFP, and options for streamlining the application process for CACFP institutions to apply for the Summer Food Service Program.

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New state Fact Sheets on Infant and Toddler Health from FRAC and the Think Babies™ Campaign

Are infants and toddlers in your state getting the nutrition they need for a healthy start in life? Find out with a new set of fact sheets released by the Food Research & Action Center and the Think Babies™ campaign.

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Endorse the “Access to Healthy Foods for Young Children Act of 2019”

The Child Nutrition Reauthorization process is under way, and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced the Access to Healthy Foods for Young Children Act of 2019. This bill would strengthen the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and help millions of children in child care access healthy, nutritious food. Find out more about the bill by following the “Endorse the bill” button below.

Find the latest news and resources on Child Nutrition Reauthorization in FRAC’s Legislative Action Center.

Endorse the bill

CACFP supports good nutrition and quality care in early care and education settings. Check out these 17 CACFP best practices from across the country.

In FY 2018, CACFP provided 2 billion meals and snacks to:

  • 4.5 million children daily in child care centers, family care homes, and afterschool programs.
  • 66,000 child care centers.
  • 131,000 persons in Adult Day Care.

Reducing CACFP Paperwork

State agencies, sponsors, advocates and other key stakeholders can use FRAC’s worksheet to evaluate current state policies, and identify opportunities for reducing paperwork requirements and barriers to participation.

Download the worksheet

New USDA Rules for Meals and Snacks in the Child and Adult Care Food Program Go into Effect, Promote Healthy Eating Habits

As of October 1, 2017, all child and adult care centers and child care homes receiving federal funds from the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) must implement new nutrition standards that include a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, more whole grains, and less added sugar and saturated fat. The new standards also encourage breastfeeding and better align with WIC and other child nutrition programs, such as school breakfast and lunch.

Read FRAC's Statement

CACFP pays for nutritious meals and snacks for eligible children who are enrolled at participating:

  • Child Care Centers and 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.
  • Senior Day Care Centers
    CACFP provides meals and snacks to senior citizens attending nonresidential day care centers.

CACFP At-A-Glance

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Intervening in early childhood and providing high-quality child care programming is critically important in supporting the development of lifelong healthy behaviors. CACFP assures that low-income children in child care receive proper nutrition through ongoing training, technical assistance and support. In addition, by paying for nutritious meals and snacks for eligible children enrolled at participating child care centers and family child care homes, CACFP plays an important role in improving the quality of child care programs and in making them more affordable for low-income parents.
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To be eligible for participation in CACFP, a sponsor must be a licensed or approved child care provider or a public or nonprofit private school which provides organized child care programs for school children during off-school hours. Any child up to age 12 or adult attending a participating adult day care facility is entitled to meals. Programs eligible for participation include non-residential child or adult care institutions, such as group or family child care, child or adult care centers, Head Start, recreation centers, settlement houses, and afterschool programs. For-profit child care centers serving 25 percent or more low-income children are also eligible.
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Participating programs are required to provide meals and snacks according to the nutrition standards set by USDA. The reimbursement rates vary based on the type of meal (lunches have a higher reimbursement rate than snacks), and the type of institution. Child and adult care centers and family child care homes have means-tested reimbursement systems that provide higher levels of reimbursement for low-income families: centers have a three-tiered and homes have a two-tiered reimbursement rate structure. See USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s CACFP Reimbursement Rates. At-risk afterschool programs and homeless, domestic violence and runaway shelters are assumed to be serving low-income children and are reimbursed at the highest rate.