Child and Adult Care Food Program

CACFP Overview

The CACFP is a federally funded United States Department of Agriculture program administered by the Louisiana Department of Education, Division of Nutrition Support. The CACFP enables child and adult care institutions and family or group day care homes to provide nutritious meals and snacks to their participants. These nutritious meals contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons.

CACFP Handbooks

Who May Participate?

Eligible independent centers and sponsoring organizations enter into agreements with the Louisiana Department of Education to assume administrative and financial responsibility for CACFP operations. CACFP provides for the serving of meals and snacks to eligible children and adults who are enrolled for care at the following types of participating centers or homes.

Adult Day Care: Public or private non-profit adult day care facilities which provide structured, comprehensive services to nonresidential adults who are functionally impaired, or aged 60 and older, may participate in CACFP as independent or sponsored centers. The adult component of CACFP is targeted to individuals who remain in the community and reside in their home or with family members. Individuals who reside in institutions are not eligible for CACFP benefits. For profit centers may be eligible for CACFP if at least 25% of their participants meet current annual Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEGs).

At-Risk Afterschool Programs: Eligible public, private non-profit, or for profit programs that offer enrichment activities for at risk children and youth, 18 and under, after the regular school day ends, on weekends/holidays or school vacations during the regular year, can provide at maximum of one meal and/or snack through CACFP. Programs must be offered in areas where at least 50% of the children are eligible for free and reduced price meals based on school data. For profit centers/programs must also be eligible to participate in the CACFP through traditional child care and have at least 25% of their child care participants eligible for free and reduced meals each month.

Center-Based Child Care: Eligible public, private non-profit, or for profit child care centers, Head Start programs, outside-school-hours care centers, which are licensed or approved to provide day care services may participate in CACFP as independent or as sponsored centers. For profit centers must have at least 25% of the children in care eligible for free and reduced price meals. Children from birth through 12 years of age may be enrolled for CACFP benefits.

Family Day Care Homes: A family day care home must sign an agreement with a sponsoring organization to participate in CACFP. Day care homes may be licensed and approved to provide day care services in the provider’s residence. Children from birth through 12 years of age may be enrolled for CACFP benefits.

Emergency Shelters: The CACFP can be an important resource to emergency shelters that provide residential and food services to children experiencing homelessness. Emergency shelters receive the highest rates of payment for serving meals, which meet Federal nutritional guidelines, to eligible children. Residents 18 and younger who receive their meals at an emergency shelter are automatically eligible for free meals. There are no application forms for families to fill out. All reimbursable meals are served in group settings at no cost to the child or to the child’s family.

What are the Meal Requirements?

Meals and/or snacks served on the CACFP must meet Federal nutritional guidelines. CACFP meal pattern requirements vary according to age (infant, toddler, preschool, school-age, and adult) and the type of meals served (breakfast, lunch, supper or snack).

Centers and day care homes may be approved to claim up to two reimbursable meals (breakfast, lunch, or supper) and one snack, or two snacks and one meal, to each eligible participant each day.
Emergency shelters may claim up to three reimbursable meals to each eligible resident each day.
At-Risk Afterschool programs may claim reimbursement for serving one meal and/or one snack to each child each day.

How is Reimbursement Determined?

CACFP reimburses programs for meals that meet Federal nutritional guidelines served to children and adult day care participants at rates based upon their eligibility for free, reduced price, or paid meals or snacks. Meal reimbursement is calculated by a formula based on the type and number of meals served, the income eligibility of each participant, and the USDA meal rate. Reimbursement for meals served in family day care homes is calculated based on eligibility for tier I rates or lower tier II rates. Family day care home sponsoring organizations also receive administrative funds related to the documented costs they incur in operating the CACFP.

Back to Training