The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal program in the United States that provides financial assistance to child care providers, schools, and other organizations offering nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children and adults in their care. Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), CACFP plays a crucial role in promoting the #health-and well-being of individuals in child care settings, adult day care centers, after-school programs, and #emergency shelters.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) exists to address the nutritional needs of vulnerable populations. This program was established with several key objectives in mind:
- CACFP aims to improve the nutritional quality of meals and snacks served to individuals in participating care settings. By establishing specific nutrition standards, the program encourages the provision of well-balanced and wholesome foods that contribute to overall #health-and well-being. Participating providers must adhere to specific nutrition standards, ensuring that meals include appropriate servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. This focus on nutrition aims to promote #healthy-eating habits from an early age. Understanding the USDA MyPlate food guide is an important step. Check out ChildCareEd’s article: Childhood Nutrition to learn more.
Addressing Food Insecurity:
- CACFP plays a crucial role in addressing food insecurity among children and adults in various care environments. By providing financial assistance to participating child care centers, family child care #homes, afterschool programs, and adult day care centers, CACFP helps ensure that nutritious meals are accessible to those who may face economic challenges.
Supporting Child Development:
Reducing Health Disparities:
- CACFP aims to reduce health disparities by ensuring that all participants in non-residential care settings have access to nutritious meals, regardless of their socio-economic background. This helps level the playing field and contributes to long-term health outcomes.
Fostering Good Eating Habits:
- By promoting nutritious meals and snacks, CACFP assists child care providers in instilling good eating habits in children at an early age. Exposure to healthy food choices and positive eating experiences contributes to the development of lifelong habits that can prevent diet-related health issues.
Enhancing Program Quality:
- For child care centers and family child care homes, participation in CACFP can contribute to the overall quality of their programs. Financial support allows providers to invest in better food options, educational resources, and improved facilities, creating a more enriching environment for participants.
Meeting Licensing and Regulatory Standards:
- Many licensing and regulatory standards for child care programs include requirements related to nutrition. CACFP assists providers in meeting these standards, contributing to the overall compliance and quality of child care services.
Key features of the Child and Adult Care Food Program include:
- CACFP offers cash reimbursements to participating childcare providers and organizations to help offset the costs associated with serving nutritious meals and snacks. These reimbursements are based on the number of eligible meals served and comply with established nutrition standards.
- CACFP serves various settings, including child care centers, family child care #homes, Head Start programs, after-school programs, adult day care centers, and emergency shelters. Eligible participants in these programs receive nutritious meals through CACFP.
Support for Low-Income Individuals:
- CACFP targets programs that primarily serve children and adults from low-income households. By providing financial assistance, the program helps ensure that vulnerable populations have access to nutritious meals, supporting their overall #health-and #development.
- While CACFP is a federal program, it is administered at the state level. State agencies, often within the Department of Education or a similar department, oversee the implementation of CACFP. These agencies establish guidelines, provide training, and monitor participating providers to ensure compliance.
Overall, the Child and Adult Care Food Program plays a vital role in ensuring that children and adults in various care settings receive the nutrition they need for optimal growth, development, and overall well-being. It aligns with the broader goals of promoting health, preventing hunger, and supporting the educational and #developmental needs of individuals in child care and adult care settings.
North Dakota Child Care CACFP Participation:
Participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) in the state of North Dakota involves several steps. Here's a guide to help child care programs in North Dakota navigate the process:
CACFP Eligible programs include:
- Nonresidential, licensed public or private, nonprofit child care centers
- Head Start, outside-school-hours programs, emergency shelters, and at-risk centers meeting the CACFP requirements are also eligible.
- Certain adult care centers providing services to persons 60 years or older, or persons 18 years or older that are chronically-impaired or disabled, are also eligible.
- For profit child care and adult care centers may participate if at least 25 percent of the participants in care are eligible for #free or reduced-price meals.
- Any licensed family child care homes, licensed group child care homes or self-declared child care homes provider who cares for at least one child is eligible to participate with a Family Child Care Home Sponsor (FCCH).
- Family child care homes and group child care homes must be in provider’s own residence, the private residence of another, or a rented or unoccupied private residence.
Contact North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI):
- The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) administers CACFP in the state. Contact NDDPI to obtain information about the program, application procedures, and any specific state guidelines.
Attend Training or Orientation Sessions:
- Participate in any required training or orientation sessions provided by NDDPI. These sessions will cover CACFP regulations, guidelines, and the application process. Training may include information on #menu-planning, nutrition standards, recordkeeping, and other program requirements.
Request and Complete Application Materials:
- Obtain the CACFP application materials from NDDPI. You may be able to download the forms from their website or request them directly from the department. Complete the application with accurate information about your child care program.
Develop a Menu that Meets Nutrition Standards:
- Design a menu that complies with CACFP nutrition standards. Ensure that your meals include appropriate servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. Familiarize yourself with the meal pattern requirements specified by CACFP.
Implement Recordkeeping Systems:
- Establish effective recordkeeping systems to document meals served, #attendance, and other necessary information. Accurate and timely recordkeeping is essential for demonstrating compliance with CACFP regulations.
Submit the Application:
- Submit your completed CACFP application to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. Include all required documentation and ensure that your application is accurate and complete.
Participate in Monitoring Visits:
- Be prepared for monitoring visits from representatives of NDDPI or their designated agencies. During these visits, your program's compliance with CACFP regulations will be assessed. Use these visits as an opportunity to address any questions and demonstrate your commitment to program requirements.
- Upon successful completion of the application process and verification of compliance, your child care program will receive approval to participate in CACFP. This approval enables you to start receiving cash reimbursements for eligible meals served.
Implement CACFP Guidelines:
- Start implementing CACFP guidelines in your child care program. This involves serving nutritious meals that meet program standards, incorporating nutrition education, and maintaining ongoing compliance with program regulations.
Stay Informed and Seek Support:
- Stay informed about any updates or changes to CACFP regulations in North Dakota. Regularly check the NDDPI website for resources, updates, and additional support. If needed, reach out to NDDPI's Child Nutrition and Food Distribution Division for guidance.
Family Child Care Home Participation:
Any licensed family child care homes, licensed group child care homes or self-declared child care homes provider who cares for at least one child is eligible to participate with a Family Child Care Home Sponsor (FCCH)
Family Child Care Home Sponsors:
ABC Food Program
- 202 Peacekeeper PL
- Minot AFB, ND 58704-1701
- (701) 723-2604
- Minot Air Force Base Providers only
Heartland Child Nutrition, Inc.
- PO Box 1218, 521 E Main, Suite 420
- Bismarck, ND 58502
- Toll Free: (800) 366-6793 or (701) 250-0140 You will be directed to an area representative.
- Dorleen Wolbaum, Executive Director
- 3233 S University Drive,
- Fargo, North Dakota 58104
- Toll Free: (800) 726-7960 or (701) 232-2452 You will be directed to an area representative.
- Eastern North Dakota
- Martha Moe, CACFP Coordinator
Get Started Today:
Enrollment in CACFP provides crucial financial support, offering cash reimbursements to offset the costs associated with providing nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children. This support not only eases the financial burden on child care providers but also enables them to invest in program enhancements and resources, ultimately enriching the learning environment. Furthermore, participation in CACFP ensures that children receive balanced and healthy meals, positively impacting their overall #health-and development. By instilling #healthy-eating habits at an early age, child care providers contribute to the long-term well-being of the children they serve. Additionally, CACFP compliance aligns with licensing standards, fostering regulatory adherence and supporting professional development opportunities. Overall, CACFP participation enhances the quality of child care, promotes health-conscious practices, and contributes to a thriving and well-nourished community of young learners.
Looking for information on child nutrition? ChildCareEd offers several courses that focus on #healthy-eating and child nutrition.