Skip to Content

Child and Adult Care Food Program


The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federally funded program that provides meal reimbursement to child care centers, adult day care centers, emergency shelters, before and afterschool programs, and child development homes. The objectives of CACFP are to:

  • Provide a subsidy to eligible child and adult care institutions for serving nutritious meals
  • Serve nutritious meals and snacks to children and adults in care
  • Foster lifelong healthy eating and physical activity habits

This Program serves:

  • Children age 0 through 12 years in child care centers.
  • Children through age 18 in At Risk afterschool programs and emergency shelters.
  • Children of migrant workers, through age 15.
  • Functionally impaired disabled persons receiving care in a center or home where most children are 18 years old and younger, an in emergency shelters serving children.
  • Adults age 60 or older or impaired adults of any age in non-residential day care settings.

The funds provided for this Program are from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Program is administered in Iowa through the Bureau of Nutrition and Health in the Department of Education.  

Stay connected! Iowa CACFP is on Facebook! Use #IowaCACFP in social media posts.  

USDA revised the CACFP meal patterns to ensure children and adults have access to healthy, balanced meals. Under the new meal patterns, meals served will include a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, more whole grains, and less added sugar and saturated fat. The changes to the infant meal pattern support breastfeeding and the consumption of vegetables and fruit without added sugars. CACFP centers and day care homes must comply with the new meal patterns by October 1, 2017. 

Updated CACFP Patterns

Resources to Support Meal Pattern Implementation

Resources for Participants

Online Training Opportunities

  • Steps to CACFP Success Online Workshop
  • CACFP Wellness Modules: Farm to CACFP, Meaningful Mealtimes, Trying New Foods, Opportunities for Active Play, Nutrition Education, Smarter Mealtime Scorecard, CACFP Meal Pattern Best Practices, and Healthy Menu Makeover.

Smarter Mealtime Scorecard -  an assessment tool to help improve menu planning, parent communication and involvement, mealtime experience, mealtime environment, and provider involvement and support practices.

Move for Thought Pre K & K - integrates physical activity, books and music in the preschool classroom. The activities focus on book reading, as well as on practicing self-control and self-regulations through fun activities and games The kit was developed by Spyridoula Vazou, PhD, Department of Kinesiology, at Iowa State University, funded through Team Nutrition.

Physical Activity Card Sets -  provide hands on suggestions to help childcare providers implement the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and integrate physical activity in the child care setting. The resources were developed to make it easy to include health-enhancing components in childcare.

Flavor Shakers - CACFP  - Chef Deanna Olson created the low-sodium herb/seasoning mixtures to be utilized in childcare and schools to decrease sodium consumption.  They can be mixed together in a shaker to season food.   

Adult Centers

Child Care Center

Child Development Home

CACFP Home Sponsors

Nondiscrimination Statement

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on March 23, 2018 at 9:48pm.