Skip to Content

Child and Adult Care Food Program


The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federally funded program that provides meal reimbursement to child care centers, adult day care centers, emergency shelters, before and afterschool programs, and child development homes. The objectives of CACFP are to:

  • Provide a subsidy to eligible child and adult care institutions for serving nutritious meals
  • Serve nutritious meals and snacks to children and adults in care
  • Foster lifelong healthy eating and physical activity habits

The program serves:

  • Children age 0-12 years in child care centers and family day care homes
  • Children through age 18 in At Risk afterschool programs and emergency shelters
  • Children of migrant workers, through age 15
  • Functionally impaired disabled persons receiving care in a center or home where most children are 18 years old and younger, an in emergency shelters serving children
  • Adults age 60 or older or impaired adults of any age in non-residential day care settings
CACFP COVID-19 Waivers and Flexibilities - Includes waivers and flexibilities for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) operators and provides helpful resources to assure nutritious and safe meals are served in childcare organizations participating in CACFP during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CACFP Ambassador Stipends
To increase CACFP participation, a childcare center or home provider currently participating in CACFP can apply to receive an Ambassador Stipend ($300 for centers or $150 for home providers) by mentoring a center or home provider who does not participate in CACFP and assisting them with applying to participate in the food program. Application due date is June 30, 2021.​
Ambassador Application for Centers 
Ambassador Application for Home Providers
CACFP Peer to Peer Mentoring Flyer - provides information for centers and home providers about what is expected of a CACFP Ambassador. 

What CACFP Can Do for Me? Promotional Flyer
For childcare centers and homes to highlight the benefits of participating in CACFP: Available in English and Spanish.

Become a CACFP Provider Postcard Template 
Postcards to share with other child care providers in your community. 

The funds provided for this Program are from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Program is administered in Iowa through the Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services in the Department of Education. See the links below for additional information, including eligibility requirements:

Stay connected! Iowa CACFP is on Facebook! Use #IowaCACFP in social media posts.

CACFP Participation in Iowa Story Map - Provides information about CACFP participation, food access, and family poverty to help users understand disparities and opportunities. Scroll through the story map to see child care programs, both participating and not participating in CACFP, by type of program in the context of food deserts and families who are likely eligible for CACFP. Scroll down to the last map, to turn layers on and off and zoom-in to communities to better understand the needs of children and families in those areas.

This story map was developed in partnership with Nemours, Child Care Aware® of America, and the Iowa Departments of Public Health and Education to better understand and promote CACFP participation in child care programs across the state.

Resources for CACFP Participants

Online Training Opportunities

  • Steps to CACFP Success Online Workshop
  • Feeding Infants (10 lessons)
  • CACFP Wellness Modules: Farm to CACFP, Meaningful Mealtimes, Trying New Foods, Opportunities for Active Play, Nutrition Education, Smarter Mealtime Scorecard, CACFP Meal Pattern Best Practices, Healthy Food Purchasing, and Updated Healthy Menu Makeover.

Meal Pattern Implementation

Infant Feeding

Healthier Childcare Environment Resources:

  • Healthy Habits Start Early - Iowa Team Nutrition Project
    • Healthy Habits Start Early Report - Completed by the University of Iowa on the success of 27 daycare centers and 31 home providers with implementing the following tools to improve their childcare wellness environments:
      • Go NAP SACC - an online tool that can assess childcare wellness environment practices, set action plans and access to online resources and trainings. If you do not have an account you will need to register for an account and contact Erin Olson at to obtain the registration code. 
    • Healthy Habits Start Early Tool-kit - Guide for implementing Healthy Habits Start Early, a garden-based nutrition program for child care centers and home childcare providers, that supports and improves healthy eating practices. It includes menu ideas, Iowa gardening tips, parent engagement tools, progress tracking tools, and advice for safely adapting meal service.
  • Iowa Smarter Mealtime Scorecard - an assessment tool to help improve menu planning, parent communication and involvement, mealtime experience, mealtime environment, and provider involvement.
  • Grow It, Try It, Like It! - free garden-based nutrition education curriculum for CACFP.
  • CACFP Menu Templates - can be customized with center or home weekly menus. MyPlate Theme, Spring Theme, Summer Theme, Fall Theme, and Winter Theme
  • Healthier CACFP Award - recognizes childcare programs (centers and family day care homes) for making outstanding efforts in the areas of menus, physical activity, professional development, nutrition and wellness environment and infant care. Three award levels are offered: Honors, High Honors and Highest Honors.

Physical Activity: 

Public Notice: Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Waiver Requests  

The Iowa Department of Education, Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services submitted a waiver request to USDA Food and Nutrition Service for a child care center that lost required Program records following a water main break. For more information contact Robin Holz, Lead CACFP Consultant - Centers, Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services at

CACFP Waiver Request Records

Submitted and Not Currently Approved Waiver Requests

The Iowa Department of Education, Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services submitted a waiver request to USDA  Food and Nutrition Service for a streamlined application and recordkeeping for child care centers approved by DHS to provide care for essential workers. For more information contact Robin Holz, Lead CACFP Consultant - Centers, Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services at

Iowa Waiver Request - CACFP Streamlined Application COVID-19

Nondiscrimination Statement

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on March 06, 2021 at 10:52am.