Program Description

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides aid to child and adult care institutions and family or group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons.

General Program Requirements

As part of their regular care, children and adults receive nutritious meals and snacks at child care centers and homes that participate in CACFP. Child care centers, adult day care centers, day care homes, afterschool care centers, and emergency shelters receive cash reimbursement for serving meals and snacks that meet Federal nutritional guidelines to eligible children and adult participants.

Eligible children include infants and children through age 12 in child care centers and day care homes and adults who are 60 years or older, or physically or mentally impaired, and enrolled in adult day care. In afterschool care centers and emergency shelters, children through age 18 are eligible. Children of migrant workers are eligible through age 15.

Centers and day care homes may be approved to claim reimbursement for serving up to two meals and one snack to each eligible child or adult participant, each day.  Emergency shelters may serve up to 3 meals per day. At-risk afterschool care centers may serve up to one meal and one snack per day.

CACFP reimburses centers at free, reduced-price, or paid rates for eligible meals and snacks served to eligible children and adult participants.

In day care homes, all meals are served free.  Day care home providers that serve children in low income areas, or meet low income eligibility requirements themselves, are targeted to receive higher levels of reimbursement.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

Parents and guardians looking for healthy meals for their children should contact their State Agency for participating care facilities.

Child and/or adult care providers should contact the appropriate State Agency for more information.  


Program Contact Information

For more information, please visit the Food and Nutrition Service's Child and Adult Care Food Program website.

If you need food help today, you may also call the National Hunger Hotline. Hotline staff can help you find food near where you live:

  • 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479)
  • 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273) (en español)

Additional Information

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number10.558
Current Method of Tribal EligibilityProgram not specific to American Indians and Alaska Natives, but they are eligible
Funding TypeMandatory
Matching Funds RequiredNo

Didn't find what you were looking for?

Try using our Benefit Finder questionnaire to view a list of benefit programs you may be eligible to receive.