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The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) was made a permanent program in 1978, pursuant to the Child Nutrition Act. It is a program created by the Federal Department of Agriculture under the National School Lunch Act aimed at starting, maintaining, and expanding nutritious food services for children from birth to 12 years of age or up to 15 years, if they are children of migrants. Physically or mentally handicapped persons who are registered in a state agency may participate if they receive care in centers and homes where the majority of those enrolled are 18 years or younger.

Program regulation

7 CFR 226

What is the goal?

The goal is to offer children enrolled in Day Care Centers balanced meals and teach good eating habits.

Who can participate?

  • Non-residential, non-profit organizations, both public or private
  • Private organizations that operate for profit, wherein 25 percent of enrolled children are beneficiaries of the Social Security Act Title XX
  • Licensed Child Care Homes registered under a sponsoring agency

What services does it offer?

  • Refunds for three (3) complete meals served: breakfast, lunch, snack, and/or dinner
  • Cash-in-lieu
  • Commodities
  • Technical Assistance and Training

What must an organization do to participate?

  • Submit an application with the documents required by the Program.
  • Demonstrate administrative and financial capacity and internal controls.
  • Have trained personnel to operate and supervise the Program.
  • Serve meals that comply with the established eating pattern.
  • Have an individual care plan for physically disabled adults, which must include health-related and social services for participants in adult care.

Program sponsors

CACFP sponsors share the common goal of providing nutritious meals and snacks to participants in different operational forms, which are:

  • Childcare centers:
    • Public or private places that may be for-profit or non-profit and are licensed to care for and serve meals to groups of children.
  • Childcare homes:
    • Small groups of children cared for in a family home, non-residential, and duly licensed.
  • After School Care:
    • At-Risk: Places in low-income areas.
      • Provide free snacks and/or dinners to children and youth of school age up to 18 years.
    • In care center: Regular extended hours for children up to 12 years old, who come from school to the center.
      • Extended hours After-school snack and/or dinner for childcare centers.
    • Shelters for children without a permanent home:
      • Provide residential and food services to homeless children. The shelter also welcomes the child’s father/mother or guardian. Service provided up to 18 years.
    • Adult daycare:
      • Non-residential, public, or private places for the care of functionally disabled adults. Different services are offered to integrate the resources of the Community.

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