Child and Adult Care Food Program

About the CACFP

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federally funded program which is administered and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The purpose of the program is to ensure that eligible children and adults who attend qualifying non-residential care facilities receive nutritious meals.

To accomplish this purpose, CACFP provides reimbursement to qualified caregivers for meals and supplements (snacks) served to participants. While the FNS develops the regulations and establishes the policies needed to conduct the program, state agencies are responsible for administering the program on the State level and for assisting sponsors on the local level.

In North Carolina, the CACFP is administered by the Special Nutrition Programs Unit in the Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Human Services.

The types of facilities that are eligible for CACFP reimbursement are:

  • Child Care Centers: Public or private nonprofit child care centers, Head Start programs, and some for-profit* centers which are licensed or approved to provide day care may serve meals and snacks to infants and children through CACFP.
  • Family Day Care Homes: CACFP provides reimbursement for meals and snacks served to small groups of children receiving nonresidential day care in licensed or approved private homes. A family or group day care home must sign an agreement with a sponsoring organization to participate in CACFP. The sponsoring organization organizes training, conducts monitoring, and helps with planning menus and filling out reimbursement forms.
  • At-Risk Afterschool Programs: Afterschool care programs in low-income areas can participate in CACFP by providing free snacks to school-aged children and youths.
  • Homeless Shelters: Emergency shelters which provide residential and food services to homeless families with children may participate in CACFP. Unlike most other CACFP facilities, a shelter does not have to be licensed to provide day care.
  • Adult Day Care Centers: Public, private nonprofit, and some for-profit* adult day care facilities which provide structured, comprehensive services to adults 60 years of age and over as well as functionally impaired, nonresident adults may participate in CACFP.
  • Outside-School-Hours Care Centers

* For-profit centers are eligible to receive meal reimbursement if they receive Title XIX or Title XX funds for at least 25% of enrolled participants.

Age Requirements

The age requirement for enrollees in the facility that you may claim meal reimbursement from are:
  • Children age 12 or under
  • Children of migrant workers age 15 or under
  • Children 12 - 18 years of age if enrolled in an "At-Risk" program
  • Mentally/physically disabled persons if the majority of enrollees are 18 or under
  • Chronically impaired disabled adults 18 years of age or older
  • Adults 60 years of age receiving non-residential care

Special Nutrition Program Consultants, each with an assigned group of counties, administer the program on the local level. Consultants process applications, monitor programs and provide technical assistance through on-site visits to facilities, training of program sponsors and audit program records. Their goal is to enable and ensure that sponsors are aware of and follow the guidelines of the CACFP in order that participants receive the maximum benefits that are available to them.