The Child and Adult Care Food Program
What is the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)?
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal program that provides reimbursement for healthy meals and snacks served to children in early education and care and other settings.
Participating programs are required to provide meals and snacks according to nutritional standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The reimbursement rates given to providers vary according to the type of meal, the type of program, and the income level of a child’s family.
Who Can Participate?
- Early Education and Care Centers
- Family Child Care Programs
- Afterschool Programs serving “at-risk” children and youth
- “Family, Friend and Neighbor” caregivers who receive a child care subsidy
Benefits to Providers
- Reimbursement for nutritious food
- Training and technical assistance to prepare and serve healthy meals and snacks
- Healthy children in their care
Benefits to Children:
- Good nutrition to assist in proper growth and development
- Increased knowledge of healthy foods
- Development of positive, healthy eating habits
Where can I sign up if I want to join the CACFP program?
A family child care provider must sign an agreement with a sponsoring organization to participate in CACFP. Your sponsor organization will help you understand which foods to serve at each meal, how to do the related paperwork, and more.
Center-based programs can sign up through a sponsoring organization or contract directly with the state agency that oversees the program, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Phone: 781-338-6480).
You can find a list of sponsoring organizations here.
- Learn about our “Eating to Learn” research initiative, which helped to increase participation in CACFP.
- Read our publications about CACFP
- “About CACFP” flyer for providers
- “Sobre CACFP” para proveedores de cuidados
- “About CACFP” flyer for parents
- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: General information on CACFP
- United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service: General Information on Federal Regulations for CACFP
- CACFP Provider Handbook on Wellness and Nutrition