Daycare food programs provide cash reimbursements for nourishing meals and snacks served to children ages 12 years and younger in licensed family day care homes. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) improves the quality of daycare by making it more affordable for many low-income families. The CACFP child care component is a state and federally funded program that gives financial aid to licensed child day care centers and day care homes.
Types of Daycare Businesses Eligible for Daycare Food Programs
Who may participate in CACFP?
- Eligible public or private nonprofit child care centers
- Infant centers
- Care centers that provide care outside of school hours
- Head Start programs
- Other institutions which are licensed or approved to provide day care services may participate in CACFP.
What if your child care business is for-profit? If your child care business is for-profit, the business must receive title XX funds for at least 25 percent of the children enrolled or licensed capacity (whichever is less). Your for-profit child care center may also be eligible if at least 25 percent of the children in care are eligible for free and reduced price meals.
Qualifying organizations receive cash reimbursement for serving meals to enrolled children and adults that meet Federal nutritional guidelines. The CACFP can assist with State and federal meal reimbursement for the number of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and supplements served to enrolled children. Meals must meet the USDA minimum meal requirements. These meals are then reimbursed at rates based on the child’s eligibility for free, reduced price, or paid meals.
Daycare Food Programs Benefit Daycare Businesses
Participating in the CACFP helps enhance the diets of children up to the age of 12 by providing them with nutritious, well-balanced meals. According to studies, the CACFP develop s good eating habits in children that will last through later years. Studies also show that children who participate in the CACFP program have higher intakes of vital nutrients and fewer servings of fats and sweets than children in non-participating care.
Other benefits of participating in the CACFP are that your daycare business may receive:
- Food donations
- Technical assistance for food service operation program management, and recordkeeping
- One time start-up funds for your daycare home in some cases
Daycare food program Record Keeping
The CACFP requires the following records in order receive benefits:
- Facility license
- Enrollment form signed by a parent
- Daily menus including quantity served
- Daily attendance
- Number of meals by type served to enrolled children each day
- Verification of children’s eligibility category
- Civil rights data.
As a daycare provider, it is wise to invest in childcare software in order to keep track of the records necessary to receive food program benefits.
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