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CACFP Afterschool Care Programs


The CACFP has two Child Nutrition Program options for organizations that provide care or programming before and/or after school. All meals/snacks served must follow the CACFP meal pattern. Use the following information to determine the best Program for your operation.

Outside School Hours Child Care

  • Serves a separate group of children through 12 years of age before/after normal school hours, usually during the school year, school vacations and during the summer.
  • Serves breakfast, afternoon snack or both. May serve up to two meals and one snack or two snacks and one meal per child per day when school is not in session.
  • Is located in any area in a licensed, or inspected facility (if exempt from licensing).
  • Collects income applications to determine rates of reimbursement.
  • CACFP recordkeeping requirements are the same as other child care centers.
  • The child care program may charge families for meals/snacks or include them in the cost of care.
  • Mealtimes are set by the child care program.

At-Risk Afterschool Care Meal Program

  • Serves a separate group of children up to age 18 years. Meals may be served after school during the school year or on weekends and school vacations.
  • Serves up to one snack and one meal per child per day.
  • Is located in the attendance area of a public elementary, middle or high school where 50% of enrolled children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Contact your local school district to determine what elementary, middle, and high school building attendance area the site is located in. Contact the State agency to determine if any of the buildings are area eligible (have at least 50% of the enrollment eligible for free or reduced-price meals).
  • All meals and snacks are reimbursed at the free rate without the requirement to collect family income applications.
  • CACFP recordkeeping requirements are reduced. Required records include attendance, meal participation, menus, and documentation of expenses paid CACFP reimbursement.
  • The program must offer enrichment activities in a supervised environment.
  • The program may not charge families for meals/snacks.
  • Meals and snacks must be served after school on school days. In an extended school day program, meals may be served before the end of the school day.
  • If the program serves meals on a day when school is not in session, any one meal and any one snack may be served at a time determined by the local program.
  • At-Risk sites may be sponsored by another organization, independent (self-sponsored), or be located in a regular childcare center but serving a group of older children distinctly separate from the younger children.
  • Schools may apply to sponsor the CACFP At-Risk program by checking a box on the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) application and completing a streamlined application.
  • Schools may elect to follow the NSLP meal pattern or CACFP meal pattern.

USDA Afterschool Program resources - Describes the CACFP At-Risk Program, how it works, how organizations can participate and provides resources.

CACFP Promotional Flyers - The following flyers summarize the benefits of the CACFP At-Risk Program, list eligibility requirements, describe responsibilities of the sponsor, and explain how to apply: