Child and Adult Care Food Program

CACFP provides reimbursements for meals served to children, youth and adults at child care centers, day care homes, and adult day care centers.

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal program that provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children and adults who are enrolled for care at participating child care centers, day care homes, and adult day care centers. CACFP also provides reimbursements for meals served to children and youth participating in afterschool care programs, children residing in emergency shelters, and adults over the age of 60 or living with a disability and enrolled in day care facilities.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) at the national level.

In Missouri, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services administers the program.

Day Care Centers

The Child and Adult Care Food Program are designed to provide nutritious meals to pre-school and school-aged children in child care facilities.  The City of St. Louis Department of Human Services - Division of Youth and Family Services is a local sponsor of this program. Free meals will be provided to children 1-12 years of age and enrolled in child-care centers throughout the school year at participating centers located in both the city and county areas of St. Louis. 

Types of Centers

Regular Centers

A licensed day care center that provides child care services for eight (8) hours or more to children age 1 to 5. It is suitable for children who need individual care. Child/Adult ratio is at least 10 to 1 at any given time.

Outside School Hours Centers (OSHC)

An agency, facility, school or church which provides before school and/or after-school services directly to school-aged children within the facility. Such services may include supervision, assistance with schoolwork or homework, and enrichment activities. The OSHC offers adult supervised care, usually to school age children age 5 through 12 years. The Child/Adult ratio is at least 16 to 1 at any given time.


In order for for-profit institutions to qualify for the CACFP at least 25 percent of the facility's enrollment or licensed capacity, whichever is less, must have their care paid for through Title XX or Title XIX funds.


Adult Day Care Centers

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides meal reimbursement to eligible adult day care centers. The target population of this program is elderly and functionally impaired adults, 18 years of age or older and adults 60 years of age or older who are unable to live independently or perform activities of daily living. Functionally impaired adults include victims of Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders with neurological and organic brain dysfunction, who are physically or mentally impaired to the extent that their capability for independence and ability to carry out functions of daily living is markedly limited.

Eligibility facilities must serve meals meeting eligibility requirements; maintain accurate and complete records; operate a nonprofit food service, train center personnel in program requirements and operations; and collect income eligibility information on all participants claimed as free or reduced.

DHSS provides reimbursement for allowable meals served; provides technical assistance on nutrition, food service operations, program management, and recordkeeping; and reviews and monitors program services to ensure good nutrition for all enrolled participants.


After School At-Risk Program

The After School At-Risk Program is designed to provide nutritious snacks and meals to children participating in after school programs during the regular school year. These food programs not only benefit children by providing needed nutrition, but have also been shown to help reduce or prevent children's involvement in juvenile crime or other at-risk behavior. The City of St. Louis Department of Human Services - Youth and Family Services Division is pleased to sponsor this program. Free snack and supper meals may be provided to youth 1-18 years of age who are enrolled in qualified after school programs. Meal service will operate during the academic school year.


Any public or private nonprofit organization providing after school programs may be eligible. Such institutions may include recreation centers, after school programs, latchkey programs, and institutions providing day care service for handicapped children. The Site may not discriminate; each enrolled child must be served regardless of race, color, handicap, or national origin.

The following information is required for sites to qualify as an After School At-Risk Program:

  1. The site must qualify as an enrichment program. Enrichment programs may include tutoring, mentoring, cultural, music, dance, art, and life skills. Sites that provide sports must allow all children to participate.
  2. Each site must provide a health sanitation inspection and a fire safety inspection to meet approval guidelines.
  3. The Site must be located in an area where at least fifty percent of the children in the nearest school qualify for free or reduced lunches.

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