Child Care Centers

Childcare centers serving healthy meals and snacks to the children in their care may be eligible for 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.

Program Basics

CACFP is a reimbursement-based program. Approved centers buy and serve healthy meals and/or snacks, then request reimbursement on a monthly basis. Centers also benefit from free training and resources to support their efforts to provide quality nutrition.

CACFP is federally funded through the United States Department of Agriculture and is administered at the state level through the New York State Department of Health.

To learn more about program basics, view our FAQ.

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 [email protected] 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. There are three rates of reimbursement – free, reduced-price, or paid – based on the household income of participating children. The 2019-2020 CACFP reimbursement rates for daycare centers are listed below. For more information about CACFP reimbursements, contact the NYS Department of Health.

  Breakfast Lunch/Supper Snack
Free $1.89 $3.51 $0.96
Reduced-Price $1.59 $3.11 $0.48
Paid $0.32 $0.33 $0.08

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 $9,400 per month.

Meal Requirements

Meals reimbursed through CACFP must follow the NYS Department of Health’s meal patterns, which specific required food components and minimum serving sizes for different age groups. 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


NYS Department of Health offers training opportunities for approved sponsors on topics including CACFP administration, food production, and best practices. Click here to find training near you.

Getting Started with CACFP

To apply for CACFP, contact the NYS Department of Health:

Call: (518) 402-7400

Email: [email protected] using the subject line “Outreach Coordinator.”

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