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What is the Child and Adult Care Food Program?

The Child And Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded program. The CACFP means nutritional meals for children and peace of mind and important income for providers. As a participant in the CACFP, childcare providers receive monthly cash payments for serving nutritious USDA approved meals and snacks to the children they serve. The goal of the CACFP is to make good nutrition available to children from birth through 12 years of age.


Who Benefits from the CACFP?

Naturally, the children you care for benefit through the good food and nutrition that they receive. The childcare parents benefit because their children receive free and well-balanced meals while they are in care. And finally, the childcare provider benefits by receiving monthly cash payments to help cover the cost of the foods they purchase and serve. Also, being able to offer free food to the children in their care is a valuable business asset for childcare centers that can help attract customers.


What Must I Do to Participate on the CACFP?

To participate on the program you must operate a licensed childcare home or center. You must serve meals and snacks that meet the nutritional guidelines established by the USDA and you must agree not to charge your childcare parents for the food you serve. You may also be sponsored onto the program through a state-contracted sponsor such as The Karamu Nutrition Program. As your sponsor, Karamu will assume full responsibility for the administrative & financial liabilities of your food program operations. Furthermore, we assure the government that your program will be operated in accordance with all federal & state guidelines. This protects you and/or your board of directors from many of the technical errors which could lead to huge financial losses.


How Much Money Will I Recieve?

Once a month, you will submit your food program records to Karamu. In turn we will compile a record of the meals and children that you served and issue you a payment accordingly. Whether you are a child care center or a child care home, you will be reimbursed in accordance with meal rates set by the USDA.

  Reimbursement for Child Care Centers


For child care centers, there are three different sets of rates used to calculate your reimbursement. These rates are categorized as “free”, “reduced”, and “paid” and are determined for each child based on guidelines set by the federal government. The exact amount of reimbursement you receive each month will depend on the number of children you serve; the number of days you are open; the types of meals you serve; and the rate classification for each child.

As an example, let’s say you’re licensed for 60 children and you have 60 children under the age of 12 enrolled. Assume 20 of the children are in the “free” category , 20 are in the “reduced” category and 20 are in the “paid” category. If you serve breakfast, lunch, and a snack to each of them daily for four weeks (20 days) you would receive a payment of about $1,133 after deducting the administrative fee for Karamu. (This assumes you met all qualifications to file a claim for the month and all the meals served met the USDA guidelines. Note this is an example only. The exact amount of reimbursement you receive will vary from month to month.)


  Reimbursement for Child Care Home Providers


For child care homes, there are two different sets of rates a provider could receive.  The basic rates are known as Tier 2 rates.  All providers automatically qualify to receive these rates.  There is also a second set of rates (known as Tier 1 rates) which are somewhat higher than the basic rates.  Providers can qualify to receive the higher rates if they are in a school zone or census tract that serves low income children or if their annual personal household income is within the guidelines set by the federal government.  Karamu will help determine if you can qualify as a Tier 1 provider.


The exact amount of reimbursement you receive each month will depend on the number of children you serve; the number of days you are open; the types of meals you serve; and the Tier reimbursement rates that you receive. As an example, let’s say you’re licensed for 7 children.  If you serve 7 children a breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack for four weeks (20 days) and you qualify to receive the Tier 1 rates, you would receive a payment of about $595.00 (assuming all the meals you served met the USDA guidelines.)


How Do I Join the CACFP?

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