Q:

How does the USDA Child Care Food Program operate?

A:

Quick Answer

The Child and Adult Care Food Program is a federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and program funds are dispersed to state health and social services agencies. Eligible childcare facilities and programs must sign a provider agreement with a sponsoring agency to participate in the program. Child care facilities and programs are reimbursed for costs associated with serving children breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Providers are paid monthly, and the amount of payment varies.

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Full Answer

CACFP sponsors are usually local or regional nonprofit organizations, and childcare providers can seek sponsor referrals from state health or social services agencies. When selecting a sponsor childcare providers should consider whether or not a particular sponsor is a good match. Sponsors work closely with childcare providers to ensure the program is properly implemented. Good sponsors answer questions and provide program training. Family home childcare providers can participate in CACFP, and providers are categorized into two reimbursement tier groups.

Every qualified family childcare provider is placed into tier one by default, but low-income providers can get a higher rate of reimbursement by meeting tier two requirements. Tier two providers must have an income that goes below a certain percentage of the poverty level, live near a school where families have similar income, or care for children that come from low-income households.

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