Enroll in the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program
The US Department of Agriculture Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is designed to improve the health and nutrition of participants and promote the development of healthy eating habits through nutrition and education. Read about the program in English and Spanish.
The Office for Children sponsors this program in family child care homes in Fairfax County.
By joining the USDA Food Program, family child care providers receive:
- Reimbursement for some of the cost of providing healthy meals and snacks to children in care.
- Ongoing education on food safety, nutrition, menu planning, shopping and budgeting.
- Consultation with registered dieticians at the Office for Children.
- A great marketing tool for your home child care business, assuring parents that children in your care are receiving healthy meals and snacks.
To participate in the program, you must:
- Have a current Fairfax County child care permit or state license.
- Have children, other than your own, in your care.
- Sign a provider agreement with the Office for Children.
- Follow the USDA meal pattern.
- Serve nutritious foods.
- Submit menus and attendance records each month for reimbursement.
- Record each meal or snack at the time it is served (point of service).
- Allow a minimum of three home visits per year.
- Complete annual USDA regulations training.
The Office for Children will provide the forms and assistance you will need to obtain reimbursement each month.
USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program Orientation
To join the USDA Food Program, please call 703-324-8100 to register for an orientation session or contact your child care specialist in the Office for Children for an in-home orientation.
Discover how the USDA Food Program will benefit your family child care business. Learn about the resources you receive when you participate in the Food Program. Learn how to join the Food Program and the easy way to submit your monthly claims for reimbursement.
Please note: After you join the Food Program, your child care specialist will visit you in your home and will provide you with a certificate for two hours of training credit.
Tuesday, July 10 7 – 9 p.m.
Tuesday, August 7 7 – 9 p.m.
Tuesday, September 11 7 – 9 p.m.
Tuesday, October 2 7 – 9 p.m.
Tuesday, November 6 7 – 9 p.m.
Tuesday, December 4 7 – 9 p.m.
Frequently Asked Questions About the USDA Food Program
1. How can the CACFP help me (the family child care provider)?
The CACFP will help you by providing reimbursement for meals and snacks that meet recommended nutrition guidelines to children in care. The program provides training on menu planning, food safety and nutrition and let parents know that children receive nutritious meals. Nutrition is an important part of quality child care and a healthy lifestyle.
2. What meals can I claim?
Family child care providers can claim up to two meals and one snack per child per day. You can choose the combination that works best for your program.
3. How do I get my reimbursement?
Reimbursement checks are mailed directly to you on a monthly basis.
4. Does the CACFP meal pattern allow for variations to accommodate participants who cannot eat certain foods because of religious reasons?
Yes. In many cases substitutions to accommodate religious dietary restrictions can be made within existing meal pattern requirements. The adjustments can be made as needed by submitting a letter from the parent for an alternate meal pattern.
5. Is an infant meal reimbursable if the iron-fortified infant formula is supplied by the parent or guardian?
Yes. Reimbursable meals for infants may contain either breast milk or iron-fortified formula, or both. Infant formula may be supplied by the family child care provider or by the parent. However, the meal must be served and fed to the infant by the provider.
6. How can my participation in the CACFP help parents?
Parents who leave children in your care want to feel confident that the child receives the best care, the care of a professional. Your participation in the CACFP assures parents that their child is receiving nutritious meals based on USDA nutrition standards, a sign of quality child care, and will learn to develop healthy eating habits that will last life time.
7. What does a program visit look like?
Your Child Care Specialist will visit your program 3 times a year to review your paperwork, answer your questions, and bring you nutrition education material, record keeping calendar, attendance sheets and menus.
8. Can I claim meals for my own children?
Under certain guidelines, family child care providers may claim meals and snacks served to their own children when in child care. OFC staff can help you determine if you are eligible.
USDA Nondiscrimination Statement
In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call 866-632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
1. Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410
2. Fax: 202-690-7442
3. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.