Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

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If you have questions regarding the Child and Adult Care Food Program, please contact a member of the Child Nutrition staff.  

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What is the Child and Adult Care Food Program? 

The CACFP is a federally funded program that is administered by the states to ensure that eligible children have access to healthy, nutritious food. CACFP serves At Risk After School Programs, Adult Day Centers, Child Care Centers, Family Child Care Providers and Emergency Shelters. The Child and Adult Care Food Program has served 4.2 million children and 130,000 adults nationwide. 

Why use CACFP? 

CACFP provides aid to child and adult care institutions and family 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 those 18 years and older who are chronically impaired and/or disabled.

CACFP Resources, Forms and Claims Information


Following this link for the most recent claims rates

In order to receive reimbursement, institutions must have an approved agreement with the Maine Department of Education (MDOE). Reimbursement is calculated using the number of reimbursable meals by type (breakfast, lunch, supper, and snack) multiplied by the applicable income eligibility-based rate per meal. Congress set the reimbursement rates which are updated yearly.

Family Child Care Providers are reimbursed for both meals served and a portion of administrative costs.
Center programs are reimbursed for meals served based on their percentages of free, reduced-price, and paid eligible participants.
For-profit Centers can only claim reimbursement for months when at least 25% of their enrolled participants (or 25% of their licensed capacity, whichever is less) are eligible for free and reduced-price meal benefits.

Accurate and complete claims for reimbursement are submitted to MDOE-Child Nutrition monthly on the proper reimbursement forms. They should be submitted as early as possible following the last day of the month.  Claim forms must be received or postmarked no later than 60 calendar days after the last day of the claim month. There is an exception to the is rule that can occur once every three years. In order to receive this exception, institutions must receive prior approval from MDOE and with CACFP staff to create and implement a corrective action plan to prevent future occurrences. If adjustments need to be made to a claim after it has been received by MDOE, revisions must be received within the 60-day deadline. Claims for reimbursement will be paid within 45 days from when they were received.  If an incomplete or the claim must be revised, MDOE will advise on how the claim can be corrected. Claims for reimbursement and supporting documentation (menus, portion menus, receipts and invoices for food supplies, Income Eligibility forms, attendance records, POS meal count records) must be kept on file for three years plus the current year.

Everything you need to monitor and track your CACFP information, including: Meal Count Worksheet, Portion Menu, and Menu Pattern Guidelines can be found following this link.


Information regarding Basic Training documentation, Annual Training, Civil Rights, Wellness, Nutrition, and useful links from the USDA can be found following this link.

Programs that can use CACFP

Adult Day Centers

CACFP supports institutions that want to initiate or improve food service in a variety of settings, including adult daycare centers.

Adult care centers receive payments for serving nutritious meals to adults who are 60 and older or adults over 18 who are physically or mentally impaired to the extent that limits their independence and ability to carry out activities of daily living.  Up to 2 meals and 1 snack per adult per day are reimbursable through CACFP.

CACFP meals give adults the nutrition they need as a routine part of their daycare services to meet the needs of functionally impaired adults.

At-Risk After-School Programs

CACFP provides funding to after-school programs that serve healthy meals and snacks to children and teens in low-income areas.  Up to 1 meal and one snack per child per day are reimbursable through CACFP.

Follow this link for more information about At-Risk After-School Programs

Child Care Centers

The Child Care Centers section of CACFP provides funding for public and private nonprofit child care centers, Head Start programs, and outside-school-hours care centers.  For-profit centers must prove that 25% of those in their care are from low-income families. Up to 2 meals and 1 snack per child/per day are reimbursable through CACFP.

CACFP provides nutritious meals and snacks to infants and children as a regular part of their daycare. 

CACFP reimburses centers at free, reduced-price, or paid rates for eligible meals and snacks served to enrolled children, targeting benefits to those children most in need.

Emergency Shelters

Emergency shelters receive the highest payment rates for serving meals to eligible children who meet federal nutritional guidelines.

Residents 18 and younger who receive their meals at an emergency shelter are automatically eligible for free meals.  There are no application forms for families to fill out.  All reimbursable meals are served in group settings at no cost to the child or to the child's family.

Emergency Shelter FAQs

Which emergency shelters can participate?
Who is eligible for CACFP meals?
How are emergency shelters reimbursed?

Family Child Care Provider

The Family Child Care Provider portion of CACFP is for those who are home child care providers. Up to 2 meals and 1 snack per/child per day are reimbursable through CACFP. Use this link to see a list of Family Child Care Provider CACFP Sponsoring Organizations by County.

CACFP provides reimbursement for meals and snacks for small groups of children receiving nonresidential day care in private homes that are licensed, registered, or approved to provide family child care. 

CACFP targets higher levels of reimbursement to low-income areas, and to daycare providers and children most in need. Reimbursements help daycare home providers supplement the cost of providing more nutritious food to the children in their care.

Health and safety standards, training, and monitoring make CACFP an important component of quality child care, especially in family daycare homes.