Outreach Toolkit: New USDA Resources for Shelters Feeding Youth and Families Experiencing Homelessness

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) expanded access to meals for youth experiencing homelessness by allowing shelters to be reimbursed for meals served to children and young adults under 25 years old through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The usual age limit for meal reimbursement is through age 18. FRAC has developed a communications toolkit to help you spread the word and make the most of the expanded CACFP benefits.

Explore the Communications Toolkit

Toolkit: Maximizing the CACFP Area Eligibility Wavier for Family Child Care Homes

FRAC’s new communications toolkit is designed to help advocates inform family child care providers on how to gain access to the highest reimbursement rates that will help support their ability to reach and feed more children daily now that the Nationwide Waiver of Area Eligibility for Family Child Care Homes is in full effect. The toolkit includes a model release, sample social media graphics and content, flyers, and email templates.

Explore the Communications Toolkit

The American Rescue Plan will be infusing billions of dollars through the early care and education (ECE) sector and food and agriculture systems in the coming months. While severely devastated by the COVID-19 emergency and subsequent economic crisis, both of these sectors are ripe with opportunity to build back with greater equity and resiliency. Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) can be a component of building back better. Use this funding guide infographic to learn how you can help leverage CACFP, WIC, and additional emerging funding streams to convey the needs and desires of your community, influence equitable use of funds, and elevate opportunities for farm to ECE.

Explore the Guide

Testimony: Reynaldo Green, National CACFP Forum President on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization

On March 25, 2021, Reynaldo Green testified before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, urging the committee to include CACFP priorities in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill. Priorities included improving the adequacy of benefits by allowing another meal or snack for children in a full day of care, making proprietary care eligibility consistent with other federal nutrition programs by allowing yearly verification, and eliminating overly burdensome and outdated paperwork – in addition to our other important recommendations including increased reimbursement rates for providers and sponsors, improved area eligibility, and making permanent the expansion for homeless shelters.

Read the Testimony

Curious about the impact of COVID-19 on CACFP?

In March 2021, FRAC released a brief exploring the number of meals served through the program, reimbursements and costs, and the significance of this new data. Explore our three-page brief to learn more.

Read the Brief

Food Research & Action Center’s Transition Recommendations: “This is the Time to Heal in America,” and It Begins With Addressing Hunger

FRAC’s transition recommendations provide a roadmap for the Biden-Harris Administration to address hunger in America. It sets forth the harms of food insecurity, summarizes the strengths of the federal nutrition programs, and concludes with high-priority recommendations for administrative and legislative asks that need to be taken to reduce hunger and poverty.

Read the Transition Recommendations

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.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

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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Benefits
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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Eligibility
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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Reimbursement
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.

Outreach Toolkit: New USDA Resources for Shelters Feeding Youth and Families Experiencing Homelessness

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) expanded access to meals for youth experiencing homelessness by allowing shelters to be reimbursed for meals served to children and young adults under 25 years old through CACFP. The usual age limit for meal reimbursement is through age 18. FRAC has developed a communications toolkit to help you spread the word and make the most of the expanded CACFP benefits.

Explore the Toolkit