Eligibility Requirements

Child Care Organizations

  • Provide non-residential care for children
  • Be licensed by the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS); exempt from licensing but with proper health and safety inspections; a Head Start center; or preschool funded by the Iowa Department of Education
  • Be a public; non-profit; or eligible for-profit organization (serve at least 25% low income children)
  • Operate an eligible preschool, child care center, outside school hours child care, At-Risk After School snack program or emergency shelter program

Emergency Shelters

  • Provide residential care and food services to homeless children
  • Be a public or private nonprofit institution
  • Meet any health and safety codes as required by state or local law

At Risk After School Snack Program

  • Be located in the attendance area of an elementary, middle, or public high school with least 50 percent of the enrolled children eligible for free or reduced price meals  
  • Provide regularly scheduled educational or enrichment activities
  • If exempt from licensing, meet State or local health and safety requirements


  • Child Care Centers, preschools and outside school hours child care organizations are paid a subsidy
    • All participants are eligible for reimbursement.
    • Meals and snacks are reimbursed at three different rates (free, reduced-price and paid).
    • Reimbursement is paid for up to two meals and one snack or one meal and two snacks per child per day.
    • Reimbursement rates are based on the income level of participants and the number of meals and snacks served.
    • Current income applications must be on file to claim meals the higher (free and reduced-price) rates of reimbursement.
    • Click Nutrition Funding for current reimbursement rates (select CACFP).
  • Outside School Hours Care Centers
    • Breakfasts and snacks may be claimed for reimbursement.
    • Lunches may be claimed only when school is not in session including weekends, holidays and school vacations or at schools without a lunch program.
  • At Risk Meals Program
    • Meals and snacks must be served after the end of the school day, on vacation days or holidays during the school year only.
    • If the school has an extended day, the snack may be served before the end of the school day.
    • Up to one supper and one afternoon snack may be claimed per child per day.
    • If the Program is open on non-school days any one meal and one snack may be claimed per child per day.
    • All snacks are reimbursed at the highest (free) rate.
    • Income applications are not required.
  • Homeless and Emergency Shelters
    • Breakfast, lunch and supper or two of these meals and a snack may be claimed per participant per day.
    • All meals are reimbursed at the highest (free) rate.
    • Income applications are not required.
  • All Programs
    • Meals served must follow CACFP meal pattern requirements.
    • Meals served to supervising adults, volunteers and visitors are not eligible for reimbursement.

Application Procedures

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

Memos and Updates

Memos and Updates have been moved to the CACFP Resources Google Website (permission required). To request access, contact Cheryl Tolley at cheryl.tolley@iowa.gov or 515-681-2304.