CACFP Food Program

Is the hassle really worth joining the food program?

I get this question all the time. Is the hassle worth joining the food program? The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is designed to improve the nutrition of children. The US Department of Agriculture oversees this program. It’s a federal program that provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children enrolled for care at participating childcare centers or home daycares. By offering nutritious foods to children, you can contribute to their wellbeing, health, and development. Contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) to get more information about joining the food program in your state. A CC&R organization serves as a resource hub for families, childcare professionals and communities. Before you decide to join the food program, some things to consider include:


1. It will put you in a higher tax bracket but don’t let that discourage you because your profit would be higher than the amount of taxes you would have to pay. For example, receiving a $7,020 reimbursement minus 24% taxes leaves you with an estimated $5,335!

Income and Tax Bracket for Married:
$0-$19050 (10% taxes) | $19051-$77400 (12% taxes) | $77401-$165000 (22% taxes) | $165001-$315000 (24% taxes)

Income and Tax Bracket for Single:
$0-$9525 (10% taxes) | $9526-$38700 (12% taxes) | $38701-$82500 (22% taxes) | $82501-$157500 (24% taxes)

Government Assistance

2. If an increase in income will make you ineligible for government assistance programs or college scholarship grants for your children, you should carefully consider your decision before joining the food program, because if your income is too high you will not quality for assistance.

Maximize Profits

3. Maximize your profit. Depending on the tier, you can earn as much as $4.50 per day per child. 6 kids x $4.50 = an estimate of $7020 extra income annually.

Tier I & Tier II (All states except AK and HI)
Breakfast: $1.66 | Lunch/Supper: $3.04 | Snack: $.97

Tier I & Tier II – Alaska
Breakfast: $2.59 | Lunch/Supper: $4.87 | Snack: $1.52

Tier I & Tier II – Hawaii
Breakfast: $1.91 | Lunch/Supper: $3.55 | Snack: $1.12

Record Keeping

4. The food program requires a lot of extra record keeping and unannounced visits from a food program representative. Record keeping must accurately reflects the childcare program operations. Record keeping includes:

  • The total number of each meal and snack served to each child.
  • A menu is required to verify that the meals comply with CACFP requirements.
  • Daily attendance records of each child are needed each day.
  • A Signature and date. Your state agency may require signed and dated records in the future.

I highly recommend investing in an All-in-one Monthly Planner specifically for daycare owners. This planner is designed to keep all required documents organized in one convenient place, including the required documentation of the food program.

Quality Program

5. Parents are assured that the provider encourages healthy eating habits and that their child is being served high-quality meals.

Visit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website to learn more, reimbursement rates, food components and measurements of each food component.

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