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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, and in emergency shelters serving children
- Adults age 60 or older or impaired adults of any age in non-residential day care settings
See the links below for additional information, including eligibility requirements:
- Adult Centers
- Child Care Center
- Child Care Homes
- CACFP Home Sponsors
- CACFP Outreach Brochure for Center Based Programs
- CACFP Outreach Brochure for Child Care Homes
Joining the CACFP
Centers and home providers who are interested in learning more about the CACFP and view step by step guidance on how to apply, are encouraged to take the free online course, Joining the CACFP. If this is your first time to this site, you can create a new Professional Account.
If your organization is interested in applying for the CACFP, complete the CACFP Preliminary Center Application or contact Cheryl Tolley at email@example.com or 515-681-2304. If you are a home provider, contact your local Iowa Home Sponsoring Organization
CACFP Participation in Iowa
Explore Iowa’s CACFP participation in 2022 in the “Child Care Programs At A Glance” story map created in partnership with Nemours, Child Care Aware® of America, the Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Iowa Department of Education. The updated data shows child care programs in the state who could benefit the most by joining the CACFP. “Child Care Programs At A Glance” maps show:
- Center and family day care homes who do and do not currently participate in the CACFP across the state;
- CACFP participation at the county level;
- Childcare programs located in food deserts;
- "Hot spots” representing non-participating programs in low income areas who would potentially qualify for higher rates of CACFP reimbursement;
- Child care programs in food deserts alongside family poverty areas;
- Potential demand for child care from families with children under age 6; and
- Potential demand for child care, food access, and CACFP participation
CACFP Ambassador Stipends
Are you interested in being a part of the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), but would like assistance implementing the Program? To help increase participation, the CACFP Ambassador Stipend program is available. This mentor program pairs a child care center or home provider who is applying for the CACFP with a currently participating center or home provider. Mentors can apply to receive an Ambassador Stipend for assisting the new program ($500 for centers or $150 for home providers). The Ambassador Stipend application due date is June 16, 2023. This opportunity is available for up to six centers and six child care homes. For more information contact Cheryl Tolley at Cheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org. Funding for the Ambassador Stipends is made possible through an agreement with the Iowa Department of Public Health.
What CACFP Can Do for Me? Promotional Flyer - Highlights 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.
Resources for CACFP Participants
Online Training Opportunities
- Joining the CACFP
- 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 Meal Patterns, CACFP Child and Adult Breakfast Meal Pattern, CACFP Child and Adult Lunch/Supper Meal Pattern, CACFP Child and Adult, Snack Meal Pattern
- Best Practices (English, Spanish)
- Iowa Center Handy Guide to Creditable Food
- Iowa Home Provider Handy Guide to Creditable Foods
- CACFP Menu with Best Practices
- CACFP Best Practices Checklist
- Cooking Up Healthy Habits Guide to CACFP Meals - Includes 4 two-week cycle menus, recipes, and shopping lists.
- Feeding Infants in the Child and Adult Care Food Program
- Breastfed Babies Welcome Here - Contains communication tools CACFP operators can use to let mothers and families know that breastfed babies are welcome.
Healthier Childcare Environment
- Go NAPSACC - Contact Erin Olson at email@example.com to obtain the registration code.
- Iowa Smarter Mealtime Scorecard - An assessment tool to help improve menu planning, parent communication and involvement, mealtime experience, mealtime environment, and provider involvement.
- 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 for making outstanding efforts in the areas of menus, physical activity, professional development, nutrition and wellness environment and infant care.
Public Notice: 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 Cheryl Tolley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-681-2304.
Waiver for the Summer 2022 and SY2022-23 and Checklist