What is Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Who Is Eligible To Apply?

It is the state’s primordial role to ensure the health of its populace – and one of the cornerstones of health is the fight to end malnutrition.

Although the United States is on course to meet the global targets for malnutrition eradication, there is an identified vulnerable population that requires continued assistance. According to the Global Nutrition Report, the national prevalence of under-five stunting is 3.5% and under-five wasting prevalence is 0.4%. The adult population also faces malnutrition problems with 9.3% adult men suffering from diabetes and 13.3% women with anemia.

What is Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)?

One of the earliest programs established to ensure proper nutrition is the Child and Adult Care Program (CACFP). Established by Congress in 1968 under Sec 17 of the National School Lunch Act and implemented by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the CACFP is the most comprehensive food program of the USDA that specifically targets at-risk populations.

The program plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality of daycare and making it accessible to low-income families. Specifically, its goal is to provide nutritious snacks and meals to eligible beneficiaries.

Each day, the program feeds 3.3 million children and 120,000 adults in nonresidential adult daycare centers throughout the country. It also caters to children housed in emergency shelters, snacks and meals to school-aged children enrolled in afterschool care programs, as well as to individuals with disabilities.

Daycare homes and childcare providers that are subsidized by CACFP have the opportunity to instill healthy habits to their enrollees that can serve as their foundation throughout their lives. However, continuous participation in the program requires strict compliance with relevant rules and regulations, particularly reporting. The use of CACFP software can help simplify compliance with reporting. A cloud-based, comprehensive childcare management solution will ensure that all administrative details and paperwork required by the government are satisfied.

What centers can participate in CACFP?

Centers and program operators caring and serving meals to children and adults may be eligible to participate in the program. Once accredited, the organization can receive reimbursement for serving nutritious meals and snacks. Some types of centers that can participate in the program include:

·         At-Risk Afterschool Care Centers

·         Adult Day Care Centers

·         Child Care Centers

·         Day Care Homes

·         Emergency Shelters

Schools and other organizations offering structured programs with meal components may also check if they qualify in the program. There are specific requirements for each type of center. For more details, you can reach out to your state agency.

Who is eligible to apply?

CACFP targets vulnerable population, hence, not everyone is enrolled in the program. There are certain requirements to qualify for this state-sponsored benefit.

To be eligible for free meals, in-center participants should belong to a household with income lower than 130 percent of poverty.  Meanwhile, in-center participants with income between 130 percent and 185 percent of poverty are eligible for discounted meals. The program operator determines whether an enrolled participant is eligible for either free or discounted meals. Daycare homes eligible for tier I rates are determined by the householding organization of daycare homes.

To avail of free meals in daycare homes, participants must submit an income eligibility statement that provides information about the household income and family size. It should fall under the USDA’s Income Eligibility Guidelines.

Basically, children coming from identified low-income families and receiving state-sponsored programs are automatically eligible for free meals. Foster children under the custody of the state and homeless children are also automatically eligible for free meals.

Meanwhile, adults with disabilities, as well as, those who are identified low-income are eligible in the program. Adults who are enrolled in other state-sponsored programs such as SSI, Medicaid Benefits, FDPIR, and food stamps may receive free meals.

How can a center claim reimbursement?

The accurate recording is essential to file claims for reimbursement. For the institution to be reimbursed, it must submit monthly claims to the administering agencies.

A center might not be paid if the meals or snacks are: served to a non-enrolled recipient; not included in the program; served in excess of the authorized capacity or non-compliant with the meal approved meal plan. For-profit centers may not be reimbursed if at least 25 percent of their enrollees receive title XIX or title XX benefits. Similarly, meals served to adults that were claimed under the Older Americans Act can be filed for reimbursement under CACFP.

Administering agencies require accurate records for reimbursement to be processed. With the use of a daycare management center, producing these documents and submitting them to the government will not be a hassle. Reports are just a click away, so you can timely submit billings and receive payments. Considering its benefits, having such software can prove to be a worthwhile investment.

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