Get Started with CACFP Flow Chart

CACFP Application Process

  1. Complete the self-assessment Is CACFP for Me? (PDF, 145 KB).
  2. Sign up for the next Get Started with CACFP.
  3. During the required Get Started with NC CACFP training, we will review the online application process and how to successfully participate in the North Carolina Child and Adult Care Food Program. Participants will receive system access request forms and a training certificate.
  4. Send in the Get Started certificate of attendance and completed access request forms to begin the application process.

School Food Authorities (SFAs) interested in participating in the At-Risk Afterschool Meals component of NC CACFP please contact CACFPtraining.


  • 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 and suppers to children under 18 years of age.
  • 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 CACFP participant age requirements (which can vary depending on the type of facility) include:

  • Children birth to 18 years old
  • Children of migrant workers age 15 or under
  • Mentally/physically disabled children age 18 or under
  • Chronically impaired disabled adults 18 years of age or older
  • Adults 60 years of age receiving non-residential care

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

 What is an Independent Center or Sponsoring Organization?

What is an Independent Center (IC)?

An IC is a child care center, at-risk afterschool care center, emergency shelter, outside-school hours care center or adult day care center.

An IC is contracted with the State Agency to:

  • Assume administrative responsibility for implementing the CACFP program, including:
    • Training and monitoring staff
    • Tracking meals and filing claims
    • Performing all aspects of day-to-day operations for purchasing, menu design, and point of service
    • Completing annual application updates
  • Assume financial responsibility for program operations

What is a Sponsoring Organization (SO)?

An SO is a non-profit, for-profit, or public organization which assumes responsibility for administration of the food program for affiliated or unaffiliated facilities.

Unaffiliated Facilities

  • One or more day care homes
  • A child care center, emergency shelter, at-risk afterschool care center, outside-school hours care center, or adult day care center which is a distinct legal entity separate from the sponsoring organization
  • Two or more child care centers, emergency shelters, at-risk afterschool centers, outside-school hours care center, or adult day care centers; or
  • Any combination of the above options

Each facility has their own separate Federal EIN number.

Affiliated Facilities

  • Any combination of two or more child care centers, at-risk afterschool care centers, adult day care centers or outside-school hours care centers
  • Are part of the same legal entity as a sponsoring organization

Each facility has the same Federal EIN number.

 NC Start-Up and Expansion

Eligible sponsoring organizations of family day care homes and sponsoring organizations of child care centers may now apply for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) administrative Start-Up or Expansion funds. These grant funds are to be used for outreach, recruitment, and training activities to expand family day care home participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) in low-income, rural, or underserved areas across North Carolina. See the memo and instructions below to learn more.

Last Modified: August 3, 2019