Child Care Centers

Childcare centers serving healthy meals and snacks to the children in their care may be eligible for per-meal reimbursement and training through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

CACFP is also available for home-based child care providers and afterschool enrichment programs. Click here to learn more.

CACFP Eligibility

Most child care centers are eligible to participate in CACFP if they:

  • Provide nonresidential care services.
  • Are licensed or approved by a federal, state, or local authority; or are approved by demonstrating compliance with state, local, or CACFP child care standards.
  • Are public or non-profit OR for-profit, if at least 25% of enrolled children either receive tuition subsidies or are eligible for free or reduced-price meal reimbursements.

The NYS Department of Health’s CACFP prescreening tool can help determine if a childcare center may be eligible for CACFP. For further assistance determining eligibility, email using the subject line “Outreach Coordinator."

Meal Reimbursements

CACFP reimburses centers for each creditable meal or snack served, up to two meals and one snack per child per day. The 2016-2017 CACFP reimbursement rates for day care centers are listed below. There are three rates of reimbursement - free, reduced-price, or paid - based on the household incomes of participating children. For more information about CACFP reimbursement rates, contact the NYS Department of Health.

  Breakfast Lunch/Supper Snack
Free $1.71 $3.16 $0.86
Reduced-Price $1.41 $2.76 $0.43
Paid $0.29 $0.30 $0.07

CACFP reimbursements can make a big difference in centers’ food budgets. For example, a center might serve 100 children, with 30 children qualifying for the free reimbursement rate, 30 qualifying for reduced-price, and 40 qualifying for paid meal reimbursements. If the center served all 100 children a morning snack, lunch, and supper 20 days per month, CACFP could reimburse up to $8,414 per month.

Meal Pattern Requirements

Meals reimbursed through CACFP must meet the NYS Department of Health's meal pattern requirements to ensure children are receiving complete, high-quality nutrition. Follow the links below to view CACFP meal patterns and sample menus for infants and children: 

CACFP Meal Pattern for Children

CACFP Meal Pattern for Infants

USDA Infant Meals Fact Sheet

NYS Department of Health CACFP Crediting Handbook and Sample Menus

NYS Network for Youth Success Sample Menus

NYS Network for Youth Success Menu Planning Template

Getting Started with CACFP

Childcare centers can apply for CACFP at any time by contacting the NYS Department of Health. Call (518) 402-7400 or email using the subject line “Outreach Coordinator.”

Centers can also contact our partner Early Care and Learning Council for further information and assistance.


NYS Department of Health offers trainings for approved sponsors on topics including CACFP administration, food production, and best practices. Click the links below to find trainings near you:


Metro (NYC)

Syracuse / Southern Tier

Western Region