Related Topics:

Nutrition Programs

The Afterschool Program was established by Section 102(d) of Public Law 105-336 to provide nutritious snacks for children involved. Programs that provide care after the school day ends may be eligible for USDA reimbursement for meals and a snack served to children through age 18. A meal and a snacks can be provided by Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and a snack can be provided through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The criteria are slightly different for participation under CACFP and NSLP, so review both options carefully to determine which is best for your situation.

CACFP Afterschool Care Programs

The CACFP has two Child Nutrition Program options for organizations that provide care or programming before and/or after school. All meals/snacks served must follow the CACFP meal pattern tables. Use the following information to determine the best Program for your operation.

Outside School Hours Child Care

  • Serves a separate group of children through 12 years of age before/after normal school hours, usually during the school year, school vacations and during the summer.
  • Serves breakfast, afternoon snack or both. May serve up to two meals and one snack or two snacks and one meal per child per day when school is not in session.
  • Is located in any area in a licensed, or inspected facility (if exempt from licensing).
  • Collects income applications to determine rates of reimbursement.
  • CACFP recordkeeping requirements are the same as other child care centers.
  • The child care program may charge families for meals/snacks or include them in the cost of care.
  • Mealtimes are set by the child care program.

At-Risk Afterschool Care Meal Program

  • Serves a separate group of children up to age 18 years. Meals may be served after school during the school year or on weekends and school vacations.
  • Serves up to one snack and one meal per child per day.
  • Is located in the attendance area of a public elementary, middle or high school where 50% of enrolled children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Contact your local school district to determine what elementary, middle, and high school building attendance area the site is located in. Contact the State agency to determine if any of the buildings are area eligible (have at least 50% of the enrollment eligible for free or reduced-price meals).
  • All meals and snacks are reimbursed at the free rate without the requirement to collect family income applications.
  • CACFP recordkeeping requirements are reduced. Required records include attendance, meal participation, menus, and documentation of expenses paid CACFP reimbursement.
  • The program must offer enrichment activities in a supervised environment.
  • The program may not charge families for meals/snacks.
  • Meals and snacks must be served after school on school days. In an extended school day program, meals may be served before the end of the school day.
  • If the program serves meals on a day when school is not in session, any one meal and any one snack may be served at a time determined by the local program.
  • At-Risk sites may be sponsored by another organization, independent (self-sponsored), or be located in a regular childcare center but serving a group of older children distinctly separate from the younger children.
  • Schools may apply to sponsor the CACFP At-Risk program by checking a box on the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) application and completing a streamlined application.
  • Schools may elect to follow the NSLP meal pattern or CACFP meal pattern.

USDA Afterschool Program resources - Describes the CACFP At-Risk Program, how it works, how organizations can participate and provides resources.

CACFP Promotional Flyers - The following flyers summarize the benefits of the CACFP At-Risk Program, list eligibility requirements, describe responsibilities of the sponsor, and explain how to apply:

NSLP Afterschool Snack Program

How do I apply for afterschool snacks?

Contact Patti Harding from the Iowa Department of Education, Bureau of Nutrition and Health at 515-281-5356 or

Is my afterschool care program eligible?

In order for a site to participate, your school district must operate the NSLP. Additionally the afterschool care program must provide children with regularly scheduled educational or enrichment activities in a supervised environment. Sites are either area eligible in which case all snacks are served free or snacks are served and counted based on the free and reduced or paid eligibility of the student. 

How do we get reimbursed?

Schools may claim reimbursement for one snack per child, per day. If the site is located in an area served by a school in which at least 50% of the enrolled children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, all children are eligible to receive reimbursement for snacks at the free rate. Sites located in other areas must count meals and claim reimbursement by eligibility type of the child (free, reduced-price and paid) and have documentation of eligibility. No more than $0.15 may be charged for a reduced-price snack.

What type of snacks must be served in my program?

In order to be reimbursed, the snacks must contain at least two different components of the following four: a serving of fluid milk; a serving of meat or meat alternate; a serving of vegetable(s) or fruits(s) or juice; a serving of whole grain or enriched bread and/or cereal.

What times of the day/year may snacks be claimed?

Meals may only be claimed when served after the school day has ended. Meals served on weekends, holidays, or vacation periods may not be reimbursed under the NSLP.

What records must be maintained?

The following records are required to receive reimbursement:

  • For sites that are not area eligible, free and reduced price applications for all children for whom free and reduced price snacks are claimed;
  • Meal counts (totals for sites qualifying for free reimbursement for all children;
  • meal counts by type for all other sites);
  • Documentation for each child's attendance;
  • Documentation of compliance with meal pattern requirements (menus) and food production records.

Documentation of two monitoring reviews done by the school food authority each year must also be maintained. The first review must be done within the first four weeks of Program operations.


CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Care Handbook - USDA handbook covers eligibility and administration of the CACFP At-Risk Program.

Comparing the Afterschool Child Nutrition Programs - Chart compares eligibility, recordkeeping, and other provisions of the NSLP Afterschool Snack Program CACFP At-Risk Program, and CACFP Outside School Hours Child Care Program. 

Iowa Afterschool Snack Program located on IowaCNP

USDA Afterschool Snack Webpage:

Afterschool Care Snack Program - Recorded 11-8-21. Provides an overview of the requirements of the Afterschool Care Snack Program.