Child And Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

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.

The child care component and the adult day care component of CACFP is administered by the Maine Department of Education Child & Nutrition Services.

Independent centers and sponsoring organizations enter into agreements with their administering State agencies to assume administrative and financial responsibility for CACFP operations. CACFP serves nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children (and adults) who are enrolled for care at participating child care centers, day care homes, and adult day care centers. CACFP also provides meals and snacks to children and youth who participate in afterschool care programs or reside in emergency shelters.

Afterschool Care

Community-based programs that offer enrichment activities for at-risk children and youth, 18 and under, after the regular school day ends, can provide free meals and snacks through CACFP. Programs must be offered in areas where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free and reduced price meals based upon school data.

Child Care Centers

Eligible public or private nonprofit child care centers, outside-school-hours care centers, Head Start programs, and other institutions which are licensed or approved to provide day care services may participate in CACFP, independently or as sponsored centers. For profit centers must receive title XX funds for at least 25 percent of enrolled children or licensed capacity (whichever is less) or at least 25 percent of the children in care must be eligible for free and reduced price meals. Meals served to children are reimbursed at rates based upon a child’s eligibility for free, reduced price, or paid meals.

Day Care Homes

A family or group day care home must sign an agreement with a sponsoring organization to participate in CACFP. Day care homes must be licensed or approved to provide day care services. Reimbursement for meals served in day care homes is based upon eligibility for tier I rates (which targets higher levels of reimbursement to low-income areas, providers, or children) or lower tier II rates.

  • After School Settings

    School-based afterschool programs providing enrichment activities for children and teenagers after school can also provide free snacks through CACFP in areas where at least 50 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. CACFP funds also can pay for suppers for children attending afterschool programs.

    Reimbursable meals and snacks can be served to children, including teenagers age 18 or under at the start of the school year. There are no application forms for parents or guardians to fill out. All afterschool meals and snacks are served in group settings, at no cost to the child or to the child’s parents or guardians.

  • Daycare Settings

    Young children are particularly vulnerable to the lifelong effects of poor nutrition. As a result, children from birth to kindergarten that are at risk of food insecurity can receive the nutrition they need when they receive reimbursable meals through the Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). CACFP in daycare settings provides reimbursement for healthy meals and snacks to food insecure children while in child care.

    Funding is administered at the federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and locally by the Maine Department of Education.

  • Online Application

    We fully support the creation of an online application for free and reduced-price meals that can be used in every school in the state at no cost to the schools.

    Current, 47% of children in Maine are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. It can be a struggle to make sure that those families complete the forms in a timely manner when their only option is using a paper application. Schools that currently use an online system pay approximately $2,500 every year to contract with a company to maintain their system.

Open to every public school in Maine, thanks to our partners