CACFP Policies, Rules & Regulations

  • Overview
    • The goal of the Child and Adult Care Food Program is to improve the health and nutrition of children and adults participating in the CACFP while promoting the development of good eating habits and the furtherance of nutrition education. 

      In our endeavor to help you to follow this mission, we have compiled this Policies, Rules and Regulations book for your reference.
      It is our wish to insure that have all of the information and training that you need to meet the program requirements of CACFP.  Please call your monitor or the program manager with any questions you may have.

  • Meal Policies
      • Must be served at all meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. 1 yr
        olds must be served WHOLE milk. Children 2 and over are to be served 1%
        or fat free only. The only exception is a doctor’s note stating that a child
        is allergic to milk AND includes the fluid to be substituted for milk.

    • Milk
      • Must be served at all meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. 1 yr
        olds must be served WHOLE milk. Children 2 and over are to be served 1%
        or fat free only. The only exception is a doctor’s note stating that a child
        is allergic to milk AND includes the fluid to be substituted for milk.

    • Home Made (HM)
      • Is to appear on the menus if any food item (soup, stew, spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese, pizza, brownies, etc) is homemade or it will be classified as NOT homemade. This is particularly important with items that are available commercially prepared. Without an HM designation, an item could be discounted.

        • Counts as 1 meat and 1 bread (recipe required).

      • HM Chicken Noodle Soup
        • Counts as 1 meat and 1 bread (recipe required).

      • HM Chicken Vegetable Soup
        • Counts as 1 meat and 2 vegetable (recipe required).

      • HM Beef Stew
        • Only one component of a fruit/vegetable soup or stew can be counted in a combination dish. If the beef stew contains stew meat, potatoes, carrots, and onion, the beef stew would only count as a meat and one fruit/vegetable component and an additional fruit or vegetable would need to be served. This is of course, homemade beef stew. Canned beef stew does NOT count as a meat.

      • HM Pizza
        • Is to appear on the menus if any food item (soup, stew, spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese, pizza, brownies, etc) is homemade or it will be classified as NOT homemade.  This is particularly important with items that are available commercially prepared.  Without an HM designation, an item could be discounted. 

    • Lunch and Dinner Fruits and Veggies
      • 2 different fruit and vegetable components must be served.

    • Chili
      • Same reasoning as HM beef stew applies.

        Example:

        • Milk
        • Ground beef
        • Tomatoes/kidney beans (in chili)
        • Tossed salad
        • Corn bread
    • Canned or Frozen Ravioli
      • Based on USDA Meat and Poultry Product Standards for these commercial products, one would need to serve a VERY large portion. For example, one would need a 15 oz serving of Ravioli in order to provide the 11⁄2 oz of required meat; the same amount of ravioli would provide many bread alternates. As a result, if one must serve these products a second meat/meat alternate must be served in order to meet the required amount of meat/meat alternate.

        Example​:

        • Milk
        • Cheese cubes
        • Kiwi
        • Beets
        • Canned ravioli OR
        • Milk
        • Ground beef
        • Tomato sauce HM
        • Broccoli
        • Frozen ravioli 
    • Cereals
      • In order for cereals to count on the food program, they must have 6 grams or less of sugar. You must name the type of cereal and if you have found a new one, list the grams of sugar on the menu. 

         

    • Cheese
      • All cheese served must be real cheese. Velveeta, Cheese Whiz, and most individually wrapped slices are NOT real cheese. 

         

    • Cookies
      • Must be 6 grams of sugar or less. List the type. 

         

    • Combination Dishes
      • If counted for 3 food groups, remember that enough of each item must be included in the dish for EACH child being served. Make sure a food component is not just an ingredient. Onions, celery and green pepper are frequently ingredients, which provide flavor ONLY and are not used in discernible quantities. Review your food chart for required quantities—when in doubt, add an extra fruit or vegetable. 

        Example:

        • Tuna noodle casserole (HM) 
        • Lasagna (HM)
        • Tacos (HM)
        • Shepherds pie (HM) (list ingredients) 

         

    • Peanut butter
      • When using peanut butter for lunch or dinner it is considered 1⁄2 MEAT, so another source of protein must also be used. 

        Exampl​e:

        • Peanut butter sandwich and 1⁄2 deviled egg
        • Peanut butter and yogurt
        • Peanut butter and cheese cubes 

         

    • Pickles and Olives
      • COUNT AS 1⁄2 SERVING of vegetable so remember to serve some other fruit or vegetable long with those items to make 1 complete fruit or vegetable. Be aware that these are items with high sodium content. 

         

    • Raisins
      • COUNT AS 1⁄2 SERVING so you must have another fruit/vegetable component served along with them to count as 1 fruit/vegetable because a preschooler may be unable to digest such a large portion (1/4 cup) of dry fruit. 

         

    • Salads
        • Tossed green salad counts as 1 vegetable
        • 3 bean salad counts as 1 vegetable
        • Pasta salad counts as 1 bread alternative

        EXCEPTION: Chef Salad-may count for a total of 3 different meal components, e.g. chef salad with hard boiled egg, turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato, celery, cucumber (make sure that serving sizes are met). 

         

    • Type of Juice
      • Must be listed. ALL JUICES MUST BE 100% JUICE and no more than 1 serving per day. 

         

    • Water
      • Water is not a creditable item. It can be served at snack as long as 2 creditable items are served, too. 

         

    • Yogurt
      • May be used as a snack component and also as a meat/meat alternative for lunch or dinner. Yogurt can be plain or sweetened and flavored but NOT the commercially frozen type of yogurt. Milk may not be used as the 2nd component at snack. The fruit in flavored yogurt does NOT count as the second component.

         Amounts to be served:

        • 4 oz or 1⁄2 cup must be served to 1 and 2 year olds
        • 6 oz. or 3⁄4 cup must be served to children age 3-5
        • 8 oz. or 1 cup must be served to children age 6-12 

         

        Provider must list the quantity served and if it is not the required amount, another protein must be used with the yogurt.

         

    • Sweet Grains/Baked Goods
      • May be served only once/cycle (1x in 2 weeks) for snack only. It is highly recommended not serving at all. If you choose to serve, please list the type. 

         

    • Fruited Jell-O
      • Must be made with 100% fruit juice along with fruit in order to count as a fruit/vegetable component. Type of fruit juice as well as type of fruit must be listed on menu.

        Example:

        Jell-O with apple juice and fruit cocktail
        Add another food item from a DIFFERENT food group to complete the snack. 

         

  • Administrative Policies
      • All visits to providers are now required to be drop in visits, which means you will not be notified ahead of time of our visit. One of these visits MUST see a meal service. So it is imperative that you keep us informed of schedule changes or closings. If the provider fails to notify her monitor of closures, except in an emergency, and a drop-in visit is done at a meal service, the provider will not be reimbursed for that meal. We make every effort to find you at home and appreciate your help in accomplishing this. If you regularly serve dinners and/or provide care on weekends, we will be dropping by at those times unannounced, also. 

         

    • Drop-in Visits
      • All visits to providers are now required to be drop in visits, which means you will not be notified ahead of time of our visit. One of these visits MUST see a meal service. So it is imperative that you keep us informed of schedule changes or closings. If the provider fails to notify her monitor of closures, except in an emergency, and a drop-in visit is done at a meal service, the provider will not be reimbursed for that meal. We make every effort to find you at home and appreciate your help in accomplishing this. If you regularly serve dinners and/or provide care on weekends, we will be dropping by at those times unannounced, also. 

         

    • Enrollment Forms/Income Eligibility Forms
      • Must be completely filled out. Parents should complete the forms on their children, please check and make sure that all information is legible so that we can accurately enter the information into the computer. Children that do not have a current, correctly completed form will not be counted in your reimbursement. These forms will be renewed every August. 

         

    • Eligibility
      • You are eligible to claim a maximum of 2 meals and 1 snack per child per day. This includes weekends for those providing care on weekends. If you should exceed this maximum, for example, and serve breakfast, lunch, pm snack and dinner, claim lunch, pm snack and dinner, this will give you the highest reimbursement and still not be over the maximum limit. Problems, please call your monitor. We want you to receive all that you are entitled to receive. 

         

    • Menus
      • Menus need to be current, readable and posted so that parents can read them. If forms are not current and a drop in visit is done, all meals not properly recorded with appropriate documentation via attendance and meal count charts will be disallowed. Menus should be filled out in advance, but attendance at meals cannot be filled out ahead of time (point of meal service). Remember not to abbreviate on your menus. 

         

    • Meal Count and Attendance Forms
      • Must be filled out daily. Day care homes - make sure that all blocks in the upper right hand corner of the meal count sheet are filled in. 

         

    • Claim Accuracy
      • As a sponsor of the CACFP in Delaware, Catholic Charities is a caretaker of federal funds which we distribute to you via your monthly reimbursement check. As this is a federal program which is paid for by taxpayers like all of us, we take this responsibility quite seriously, and do check the accuracy of your claims. This accuracy also includes the real time documentation of attendance and meal service: this documentation HAS to be done while the children are arriving for the day and each and every time you serve them a meal or a snack.

        When these forms are done at the end of the day or worse, at the end of the week, it becomes obvious because of the way it is written on the form. This will make your monitor more suspicious of the timing of your documentation and will result in household contacts to the parents of the children in your care and probably more drop-in meal visits. We consider this task important so as to ensure that this wonderful program continues to be available nationwide for all diligent, hard working honest providers such as you. So if a parent reports to you that they were contacted to verify enrollment and attendance, we are doing our job for all of you. 

         

    • Reimbursement Claims
      • Are processed only for menu compliance, meal count totals and license level. Additional information, such as withdrawal dates of children, should be noted on a separate piece of paper and mailed in along with your claim. For day care homes, the white copies are mailed to us, yellow copies for your records. 

         

    • Snow Days, Inservice Days, Sick Care
      • At times you will have your school age children home on a day usually reserved for school; the children may be off because of a snow day, an in-service day, or the child is ill with a non-contagious illness. Make sure you write the reason the children are home on your menu in order for us to reimburse you for lunch. 

         

    • Thirteen Candles
      • When your daycare child blows out thirteen candles on his/her birthday cake, he/she is no longer eligible for CACFP. Please send a note with your claim to inform us of this child’s withdrawal from the program. EXCEPTION: children of migrant workers or handicapped children with proper documentation. 

         

    • Tax Information
      • The IRS allows family day care providers the choice of using the standardized rate to claim deductions for meals and snacks served to children in their care instead of having to itemize your deductions. These rates are the same as the CACFP Tier I reimbursement rates.

        This is beneficial for providers because it relieves the burden of keeping every personal and business receipt and using complicated math formulas to estimate business food expenses. This change has been in effect since 2002.

        Please contact your tax advisor or IRS at www.irs.gov (1-800-829-1040) with any other questions. 

         

    • Tier 2 Mixed Home Providers
      • Please review the current income eligibility form. Note that in Part 2A, a SNAP case number or TANF number is an automatic qualifier for Tier 1 reimbursement rates and a Social Security number is not required. If you instead fill out Part 2D, it must be completely filled out and the last 4 digits of your social security number are required. You must also complete the income you receive and circle how often you receive this income (e.g. bi-weekly, monthly). Part 2B is if you have a foster child, and Part 2C is used for clients who are homeless. 

         

    • Monitoring Visit
      • Your site visit will include:

        • Records Review (pocket portfolio)
        • Meal Service Review
        • Milk in the refrigerator-=both whole and 1% or skim milk
        • Current infant formula on the shelf that is not expired

        Sanitation/Food Safety review

        • Refrigerator/freezer including thermometer and cleanliness
        • Floor—clean
        • Range/oven/microwave-clean
        • Counters/tables-clean and uncluttered
        • Trash can—lined, covered, and clean
        • Hand washing—children and provider
        • Fire extinguisher-1A10BC
        • No rodent or insect infestation
        • Training needs
        • License review-needs to be current and posted
        • Policy changes
        • Corrective action, if necessary 

         

         

    • Grandchildren
      • The number of children being raised by their grandparents continues to rise. If you are one of these grandparents and the child(ren) lives in your home and you want to claim them, you must meet income eligibility guidelines. Please contact your monitor for further instructions. 

         

    • Shift Care/Shared Slot
      • A time schedule must be completed and returned each month with your claim if you 1) provide care for more than one shift of children or 2) you have children who share a time slot. Without this schedule, you will not receive all of the reimbursement that you are entitled. Your license should reflect this. 

         

    • Foster Children
      • If you are a foster parent and wish to claim these foster children for reimbursement, income eligibility applications must be completed. 

         

    • Change of Name, Address, or Phone
      • If you move and/or change names, a new application and agreement must be completed and a copy of your new license reflecting that change must be mailed to your monitor immediately. Lapse in licensure will result in no reimbursement (remember, you must have a current license to receive a reimbursement check). Also, if you have a baby, please be sure and note that on your meal count form so that we may process your claim with the correct capacity. Child Care Licensing should be notified 30 days prior to these changes. 

         

    • State of Delaware Law: Pets
      • As you know, animals are not allowed in the eating area of the day care home during the hours child care services are provided. Frequently, questions have been raised regarding pet bowls/dishes in the kitchen area. Therefore the policy has been expanded:

        • Pet bowls, dishes, or feeding utensils must be removed from the kitchen area during hours that child care is provided in the family day care home.
        • Pet bowls must be placed outside (back porch, utility room, outdoors) the food preparation and service areas. These areas include the kitchen, food storage areas, dining room, and any other areas used for the meal service component of the child care operation.
        • All pet foods must be stored at the bottom of the storage unit separate from foods designated for human consumption. 

         

    • Additional Qualifier for Tier 1
      • No children of your own under the age of 13 but still feel you are lower income? If you meet the income guidelines, you also qualify for Tier 1 status. Contact your monitor for more information and help. 

         

    • Late Claims
      • In order for a reimbursement claim to be processed ON TIME, it must be in the Wilmington office by the 5th of the following month (i.e. February claim must be received by March 5th). Claims mailed on the 1st of the month will reach us in time. In order for a claim to be considered LATE, it must be received in the Wilmington office by the 20th of the following month (i.e. February claim received by March 20th). This will result in your reimbursement check being one month late.

        Claims received later than that ARE NOT PROCESSED. Since menus are planned 1 week in advance, attendance done daily and meal counts done at point of service, it should not take much time at all to total your meal and attendance counts, sign your forms and drop in the mail. There has been enough time for all providers to be used to sending their claims to the Wilmington office; if you continue to use the Dover address, your claim may very well be late. Please use the Wilmington office address. 

         

    • Mail Claims Early
      • Mail your claim as soon as you are finished providing day care for the month. And remember that holidays cause mail to run slower, so make sure you mail the claim as soon as possible. You can also drop your claim off at your monitor’s office. 

         

  • Infant Menus
      • All cereal served to infants must be IRON fortified infant cereal. Cereal should be listed as infant and by type. These cereals should NOT be those to which the manufacturer has added fruit. You may, however, add your own fruit—enough to meet the fruit/vegetable requirement in the 8-12 month category. Wheat cereal may not be added until 8 months followed by mixed. Jarred cereals are NOT reimbursable items. 

         

    • Infant Cereals
      • All cereal served to infants must be IRON fortified infant cereal. Cereal should be listed as infant and by type. These cereals should NOT be those to which the manufacturer has added fruit. You may, however, add your own fruit—enough to meet the fruit/vegetable requirement in the 8-12 month category. Wheat cereal may not be added until 8 months followed by mixed. Jarred cereals are NOT reimbursable items. 

         

    • Infant Non-Creditable Foods
        • Mixed or combination dinners
        • “Baby food” meat sticks
        • Fish sticks, Hot dogs, bologna, Sausage, Bacon, Luncheon meats
        • Peanut butter
        • Infant desserts

        Once solid food (i.e. cereal, fruit and/or vegetables) is introduced into the infant’s diet and he/she is developmentally ready, these foods must be served at all meals in order to continue receiving reimbursement. The decision to add solid foods is always made in conjunction with the parents and AFTER the same food item has been offered at home. If cereal is offered at breakfast, then it must also be offered at lunch/supper (if applicable) and everyday thereafter unless documentation is provided. Questions, call your monitor.

        • Protein foods—give well cooked strained or ground lean beef, pork, lamb, veal, chickens, turkey, liver, boneless fish, pureed dry beans, mild cheese, cottage chews and egg yolks.
        • Snack crackers and breads—cannot be served until the infant is 8-12 years of age. CHEERIOS ARE NOT CREDITABLE (TOO MUCH IRON). 

         

    • Infant Enrollment
      • If you have infants enrolled in your day care and they are not CLAIMED ON THE CACFP because parents/guardians are providing all infant foods, you must document in writing the parent’s decision to decline the offered infant formula. We will supply you with the form to utilize for this purpose. Remember to list the type formula you offered as well as the type of formula the parent provides. An enrollment form must accompany the statement. 

         

    • Individual Infant Menus
      • Individual infant menus must be used for all babies until they blow out their first candle. The day the baby turns 1 year old, add them to the regular menu. 

         

    • Infant Formula
      • All participating day care providers must offer at least one infant formula which meets the definition of infant formula specified in CACFP regulation 226.2. (Ask your monitor for the list of approved formulas). This does not mean that a child care facility is required to satisfy the unique formula needs of every infant. However, facilities are strongly encouraged to select an infant formula(s) which satisfies the needs of one or more of the infants under facility’s care at any given time. The decision regarding which infant formula to feed a baby is one for the baby’s doctor and parent or guardian to make together. A parent or guardian may elect to decline the offered infant formula and supply another. The INFANT FEEDING AND DOCUMENTATION FORM must be on file for these meals to be reimbursable. However, when other required meal component(s) are served, they must be supplied by the child care provider in order to be reimbursable. Breast fed babies for whom expressed milk is provided may be claimed for reimbursement. 

         

    • Iron Fortified Formula
      • Must be served to infants under 12 months old at all meals-breakfast, lunch and dinner. Formula MUST be written in regardless of who provides it. Also, be sure the baby’s name and birth date are at the top of the menu. 

         

Download the Policy Manual.