An Introduction to the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Child and Adult Food Care Program logoThe Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal assistance program provided by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. The program provides states with grants for daily-subsidized food service to low-income participants. The program was created in 1986 to help provide nutritionally adequate food to children in day care, and evolved to include eligible adult care centers.

3.3 million children receive nutritious meals and snacks through CACFP daily. Many afterschool programs qualify to receive CACFP funding for nutritious snacks and meals.

Providing meals and snacks increases participation in afterschool programs that provide children with a healthy, safe and fun environment. Making healthy snacks or meals more available to children can also discourage them from skipping meals, which, has potentially negative effects on a student’s ability to learn.

Find out if your program qualifies to receive CACFP resources here.



Katherine Baildon and Sarina Kumar, Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs


USDA Food and Nutrition Service – Child and Adult Care Food Program

USDA Food and Nutrition Service – About the Child and Adult Care Food Program