CACFP Resources

What is the CACFP?

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP, or Food Program) is a little-known federal program administered by the USDA designed to ensure that children in child care in America get the best possible nutrition, to help them grow up strong and healthy and to help establish healthy eating habits for life. It is small by federal standards (about $2 billion annually), so it is one of the least known federal programs. But it is responsible on a daily basis for ensuring that over 2.9 million children (and 86,000 elderly Americans) are given the nutrition they need to stay healthy. For the hard working women and men who operate their child care businesses, working to care for America’s next generation, the Child and Adult Care Food Program not only helps cover the cost of the food they offer to the children in their care, but also provides training so they make the best nutrition choices when feeding those children.

The Food Program is an investment in America's future, and to protect that taxpayer investment this federally funded program is heavily regulated. There are inches-thick volumes of regulation governing every aspect of the program, and it can take years to learn all of the nuances of CACFP rules. But the basic program structure can be summarized in the chart below (click on each label below to see a detailed description for that type of program participant):

Click an oval for more information

Minute Menu works with Sponsors, supplying a comprehensive management system for both Sponsors of homes and Sponsors of centers that helps them administer the Food Program with the highest level of integrity at the lowest possible cost. We also work with child & adult care centers and in-home family child care providers, by offering software to help them submit their food program claims, along with offering a wealth of other tools to help them manage their child care businesses. We work with parents who pay their child care providers via automated direct deposits. And we work with state agencies, providing auditing and oversight tools, along with training services, to improve the quality and reduce the costs of performing administrative reviews.

For more information, click here to visit the USDA’s web site. And there are a variety of organizations that support the Food Program, including the CCFP Roundtable, The Sponsors Association, the CACFP Forum, and FRAC. The NAFCC and NAEYC operate to support family child care homes and child care centers, respectively. And for your reference, some general child care statistics can be found here & here.