What is CACFP?

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal program that reimburses registered, licensed, and legally exempt child care providers for serving meals and snacks which meet the USDA guidelines to the children in their care. This nutritional program started in the late 1960's as the result of a study that reported the poor academic abilities of children whose nutritional needs were not being met. The program is designed to help reimburse child care providers some of the expenses of feeding children in their care. It is designed to help meet the nutritional needs necessary for physical, intellectual, and emotional development and establish healthy eating habits.

All licensed, registered, and legally exempt child care providers are eligible to participate in CACFP.  Food Program participants are required to provide meals and snacks which meet USDA guidelines to all the children in their child care and keep daily menu and attendance records.

Why Participate in CACFP?

  • The children in your care will receive healthy, nutritious meals and snacks.
  • Your will help shape a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
  • You save money by receiving a monthly reimbursement check for a portion of the meals you provide.
  • You receive continuous guidance and training in nutritional standards.
  • Additional resources are made available to help your child care business such as information on financial record keeping, taxes, business management and many other topics related to child care.
  • You can be reimbursed for a maximum of two meals and one snack or two snacks and one meal per day.   Tier 1 reimbursement rates are for providers who are in a low income area or household.  Tier 2 rates are applicable to all others.

Have you ever considered participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)? You’re probably thinking… it’s not worth it. Food for thought (pardon the pun), you never lose money when on CACFP. True, your reimbursement may not pay for all the food you buy for your business, but it’s always better to get some money for the food you must buy than to receive nothing at all. And you get to choose whether to receive your reimbursement in the mail or to have it directly deposited into your bank account. Yes, it is true your taxable income will increase if you join CACFP, but you can pay for this increase out of your reimbursement and still have money left over.

Think of the food program like having a job. CACFP pays you to do some paperwork and serve healthy meals. Whether you are on CACFP or not you still have to prepare a menu, buy food, cook it, and serve it. So why not get paid for it? How much are you being paid per hour for doing this paperwork? Look at it like this, if you spend three hours per week on paperwork that equals 156 hours per year. If you care for four children and serve them breakfast, lunch and a snack, receiving the lower Tier II rate, you earn $2,256 a year ($564 per child x 4)! Your hourly rate is $14.46 per hour ($2,256 divided by 156 hours). It’s certainly worthwhile to spend a little time doing paperwork. And once again you have a choice… you can choose to keep paper menu’s, or you can submit your menus online with even less effort.

What if each parent in your program decided to give you a raise of $564 a year? Would you accept their money? Of course, you would! It’s the same financially as joining CACFP at the lower Tier II rate.

CACFP Reimbursement Rates

Rates are adjusted annually each July, as required by the statutes and regulations governing CACFP. You can see the rates table for each year on the USDA's website:

Rates listed below are good from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025.

Additional Resources

Other Nutrition & Food Safety Resources:

Fight Bac!  Partnership for Food Safety Education; keeping food safe from bacteria.  Gateway to Government Food Safety information.

Nemours Foundation  Kids Health for Kids.    

USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) Develops and promotes dietary guidance that links scientific research to the nutritional needs of consumers. 

Contact Us!

Questions About the Program or Interested in Getting Started?

  • Call (315) 446-1220 ext. 318

Current CACFP Participants:

  • Food check hotline is (315) 446-1220 ext. 331
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue S. W., Washington D.C. 20250-9410, or call (866) 632-9992 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (TDY). USDA is and equal opportunity provider.