3 Things to Know About the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program

The USDA has a program that reimburses qualifying child and adult care programs and school aged care sites for the healthy meals and snacks they serve.

Here are three things to know about the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and how it can help your organization:

1. How Do I Know if My Organization Qualifies for the CACFP?

If you provide care for children or adults in Minnesota, you may qualify for the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Organizations that may be eligible to receive reimbursement for healthy meals and snacks include:

  • Nonprofit licensed child care centers
  • For-profit licensed child care centers in which 25 percent of the families meet income eligibility guidelines
  • Nonprofit licensed adult day care centers
  • For-profit licensed adult day care centers in which 25 percent of adults meet income eligibility guidelines
  • Community-based programs that offer after school activities for at-risk youth ages 18 and younger, so long as the program is offered in an area where at least 50 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch
  • Emergency shelters
  • Summer program providers

2. How Does the Child and Adult Care Food Program Work?

Nutritious meals play an important role in the wellbeing of children and adults, but for many families, these healthy meals can be out of their budget. That’s where the CACFP comes in, providing 4.2 million children and 130,000 adults with nutritious meals and snacks every day as part of the care they receive through qualifying care programs.

The USDA administers the CACFP by giving grants to states. Each state administers the program through a specified agency. That agency works with independent care centers or an organization that sponsors independent care centers, such as Partners in Quality Care, to operate the program.

Qualifying care providers are reimbursed through the CACFP for healthy meals and snacks, so long as the meals served meet the nutritional value requirements established by the USDA. Providers must track and record the meals that are served in order to get reimbursed.

3. How Partners in Quality Care Can Help Your Program

The CACFP can be complex to navigate. There are administrative requirements and required paperwork to access the funding.

That’s why Partners in Quality Care is here! We are an organization that sponsors qualified providers and takes on the administrative burden to ensure programs can be reimbursed for the healthy meals and snacks they serve each day.

Partners in Quality Care in the Twin Cities has been a leading CACFP sponsor and advocate for care providers for many years. This has given us the expertise to help providers fill out the correct forms, process the necessary paperwork, provide CACFP training, meet meal pattern requirements, and maximize reimbursement rates.

If you think your organization could benefit from federal funding to provide healthy meals and snacks to the people under your care, contact us today at 651-925-9344, or you can send an email to We’d love to help you get started and answer any questions you may have about enrolling and administering the CACFP within your program.

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