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Nutrition Programs

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

The program serves:

  • Children age 0-12 years in child care centers and family day care homes
  • 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, and in emergency shelters serving children
  • Adults age 60 or older or impaired adults of any age in non-residential day care settings

See the links below for additional information, including eligibility requirements:

Joining the CACFP

Centers and home providers who are interested in learning more about the CACFP and view step by step guidance on how to apply, are encouraged to take the free online course, Joining the CACFP. If this is your first time to this site, you can create a new Professional Account.

If your organization is interested in applying for the CACFP, complete the CACFP Preliminary Center Application or contact Cheryl Tolley at or 515-681-2304. If you are a home provider, contact your local Iowa Home Sponsoring Organization

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CACFP Participation in Iowa

Explore Iowa’s CACFP participation in 2022 in the “Child Care Programs At A Glance” story map created in partnership with Nemours, Child Care Aware® of America, the Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Iowa Department of Education. The updated data shows child care programs in the state who could benefit the most by joining the CACFP. “Child Care Programs At A Glance” maps show:

  • Center and family day care homes who do and do not currently participate in the CACFP across the state;
  • CACFP participation at the county level;
  • Childcare programs located in food deserts;
  • "Hot spots” representing non-participating programs in low income areas who would potentially qualify for higher rates of CACFP reimbursement;
  • Child care programs in food deserts alongside family poverty areas;
  • Potential demand for child care from families with children under age 6; and
  • Potential demand for child care, food access, and CACFP participation

What CACFP Can Do for Me? Promotional Flyer - Highlights the benefits of participating in CACFP. Available in English and Spanish.

Become a CACFP Provider Postcard Template - Postcards to share with other child care providers in your community. 

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USDA Waiver Requests - Public Notification

The Iowa Department of Education Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services is seeking the following waivers from the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.

Submitted USDA Waiver Requests

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Resources for CACFP Participants

Online Training Opportunities

  • Joining the CACFP
  • Steps to CACFP Success Online Workshop
  • Feeding Infants (10 lessons)
  • 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, Healthy Food Purchasing, and Updated Healthy Menu Makeover.

Meal Pattern Implementation

Infant Feeding

Healthier Childcare Environment

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USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

See the USDA Nondiscrimination Statement.

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