CACFP Administrative Manual Section 1.5

Section 1: Program Eligibility

Section 1.5: Additional Center Requirements

At-risk Afterschool (ARA) Care Centers

The At-risk Afterschool Meals Component of the CACFP was authorized by the federal Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 1998 in recognition of the need for afterschool programs to provide nutritious foods to the children in care, particularly because many of the children may be at-risk. As a result, children through the age of 18 years (and turning 19 during the school year) are eligible to participate in the CACFP. The federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 expanded this program to allow one meal (typically supper) and/or one snack to be claimed per child, per day.

An ARA center qualifies for participation in the CACFP if it:

  • Is area eligible—the center must be located within the attendance area of a school in which at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. Area eligibility is valid for five years and must be recertified every five years. See Section 4.2 for more information.
  • Provides educational and enrichment activities to the participants in care in a structured and supervised environment. A wide range of activities may meet this requirement (i.e., tutoring, homework help, or structured learning activities).
  • Is licensed or, if license-exempt, meets local health and safety standards. See Section 1.4 for more information.

Free and reduced-price meal (FRPM) data is located in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS), Form ID CACFP FRPM Data.

ARA centers may claim meals served afterschool, on weekends, or on holidays (for example, spring break) during the regular school year. If an ARA center plans to serve meals on weekends and/or school holidays, this must be reflected and approved in the agency’s CNIPS site application (contact your CACFP Specialist for more information). An ARA center may not claim meals during the summer months when school is not in session unless it is located in the attendance area of a year-round school and serves children from the year-round school.

Adult Day Care (ADC) Centers

An ADC center may serve and claim up to two meals and one snack or two snacks and one meal per participant, per day. In addition to licensing requirements, ADC centers must provide:

  • Services to adults who are functionally impaired or over the age of 60;
  • Community-based programs;
  • Health and social support services to enrolled participants; and
  • Nonresidential services.

More guidance on these requirements is available in the USDA ADC Handbook located on the USDA CACFP Handbook page.

Emergency Shelters

The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 1998 permitted the participation of emergency/homeless shelters in the CACFP. An emergency shelter is defined as a public or private nonprofit organization that provides temporary shelter and food services to homeless children and their parents or legal guardians. The shelter may provide daytime services only, or it may provide overnight accommodations. Residential facilities that provide services to children under court or state custody are not eligible unless the residential child care institution provides a distinct program for homeless families.

A shelter may serve and claim up to three meals per child per day while the child is a resident at the shelter. All meals must be consumed under supervision and in a congregate meal setting. The child may be from age 0 (less than one year old) through eighteen years. In addition, a shelter may claim meal reimbursement for residents of any age who have mental or physical disabilities, provided that the shelter:

  • Serves a majority of residents who are eighteen years of age or younger; and
  • There is documentation of the adult participant's disability. This may be self-reported by the participant in writing (i.e., through a shelter intake form) or by other means.

References: 7 CFR, Section 226.2, 226.17a, 226.19a; USDA-CACFP-02-2011 Expansion of At-Risk Afterschool Meals in the Child and Adult Care Food Program; 06-210 Interim Rule: Emergency Shelters; USDA Participation of Emergency Shelters in the Child and Adult Care Food Program—Questions and Answers, March 2000; USDA At-risk Afterschool Meals Handbook and USDA Adult Day Care Handbook.

Questions: A list of program specialists that can assist is found on the CACFP Contact List.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Esta institución es un proveedor que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.

Child and Adult Care Food Program Logo, hands holding a heart shaped apple

Contact Us

CDSS Child and Adult Care Food Program
744 P Street, MS 9-13-290
Sacramento, CA 95814

CACFP Mailing List

To receive program updates by email, subscribe to the CACFP Mailing List here or by scanning the QR code with your smart device.

QR Code to scan to sign up for CACFP Mailing List