Afterschool programs may be eligible to serve healthy meals and snacks through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) if they:
- Are organized primarily to provide care for children after school or on weekends, holidays, or school breaks during the regular school year. Note: Programs serving 13-18 year old students do not need to be licensed to participate in CACFP. Programs serving children under 13 years of age may need to be licensed if required by the local school-age licensing agency.
- Include education or enrichment activities. Examples include tutoring, computer classes, arts and crafts, life skills, or recreation programs.
- Are located within the enrollment area of a school where 50% or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. Schools on the lists linked below meet area eligibility requirements for CACFP. These lists are not exhaustive; other schools may meet area eligibility requirements, and afterschool programs not located in eligible low-income areas may still qualify for reimbursement through traditional CACFP.
Once the NYS Department of Health determines a program is located in an eligible area, that determination remains valid for five years.
The NYS Department of Health’s new CACFP prescreening tool can help staff determine if a particular program may be eligible for CACFP.
For more information about CACFP eligibility, call (518) 402-7400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line "Outreach Coordinator."
CACFP reimburses sponsors for each creditable meal or snack served, currently $3.16 per meal or $.86 per snack for CACFP At-Risk Afterschool programs. To be eligible for reimbursement, regularly scheduled meals must meet the NYS Department of Health's meal pattern requirements and be served in an organized setting, though this does not need to be in a cafeteria, nor do all students need to eat at the same time. Sponsors can be flexible within CACFP guidelines to meet the needs of their program and students; for example, they may choose to serve meals in classrooms, or serve a meal immediately after school and then a snack two and a half hours later to children who remain in care. Or, if a snack is served first, a meal may be served to hours later. Sponsors may also chose to serve cold meals which can be easier to prepare and store, or connect with a vendor or other CACFP sponsor if they lack the capacity to prepare meals on site.
CACFP reimbursements can make a big difference for programs' food budgets. For example, a program serving afterschool supper to 60 students Monday through Friday could receive up to $3,792 per month in reimbursement. If that same program served a snack and supper, the reimbursement could increase to up to $4,824 per month.
Reimbursement covers food costs, but may or may not cover related food service supplies, food service staff preparation time, or other administrative expenses related to serving meals. Therefore, other funds may supplement the per meal reimbursement.
Afterschool programs can apply to participate in CACFP at any time by contacting the NYS Department of Health. Call (518) 402-7400 or email email@example.com using the subject line “Outreach Coordinator.”
School administrators or school food authorities considering implementing or expanding CACFP: click here to learn how Hunger Solutions New York can provide personalized support and information to schools at no charge.
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:
For further information and assistance, contact our partner NYS Network for Youth Success.