Not-in-School-Time Meals (CACFP)

CACFPOutside of the traditional school day (and age), infants and children have other opportunities to eat federal-funded healthy meals. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and its related At-Risk Meal program are U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) food programs. Administered by the Minnesota Dept. of Education (MDE), CACFP and At-Risk Meal program fund healthy meals and snacks for infants and children up to 18 years old during the school year, with higher reimbursement rates for those who qualify for the at-risk component.

Schools, as well as other organizations that have children and youth programs, are eligible to receive federal reimbursements for meals and snacks based on certain criteria including thresholds of children eligible for free and reduced price school meals, standards of educational or enrichment programming, compliance with state and local laws/codes, and USDA nutrition standards.

In consultation with MDE staff partners, Hunger Impact Partners’ leadership identified two initial not-in-school-time opportunities to feed hungry children.

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Increase enrollment of licensed child care centers, thus increasing rate of meals consumed beyond the current level of 25 percent
  • Increase enrollment of youth programs in CACFP At-Risk Meal Program offerings at sites already participating in CACFP
  • Transition school sites currently offering snacks through the School Nutrition Program to At-Risk CACFP suppers, which should raise consumption beyond the current consumption rate

HUNGER IMPACT PARTNERS APPROACH: ENROLLING LICENSED CHILD CARE CENTERS

In 2015, Minnesota had 434 licensed day care sites where at least half of the children are eligible for free or reduced price meals. This adds up to a total of 26, 520 food-insecure kids. While these centers could earn as much as $1.62 per free breakfast or $2.98 + cash in lieu of commodities for a free lunch or supper, there are barriers to participation. Compliance requirements are cumbersome, there is a shortage of the required program sponsors and little program awareness.

With its stakeholders, Hunger Impact Partners is:

  • Developing strategies for raising program awareness of available enrollment process support
  • Identifying and helping to pre-qualify sites through proprietary data analysis
  • Developing and supporting sponsors through an evolving partner network of hub organizations
  • Building success stories and awareness
  • Facilitating nutrition education, meal planning and service

HUNGER IMPACT PARTNERS APPROACH: INCREASING PARTICIPATION OF YOUTH PROGRAMS IN CACFP AT-RISK AFTER-SCHOOL MEAL PROGRAM

The CACFP After-School Meal Program is new to Minnesota and needs to build demand and enrollment.

As of 2014-2015, there were 544 eligible school sites (only 75 participated) and 100 eligible community sites (100 participated). All told, 218,851 children were enrolled in these programs, of which 133,773 are eligible for free or reduced price meals.

MDE staff recommends working to increase the at-risk supper offerings at sites already participating in CACFP. They also recommend moving eligible school sites currently participating in USDA’s School Nutrition Program for after-school snacks into the at-risk supper from CACFP.

With its stakeholders, Hunger Impact Partners is:

  • Raising awareness of program and higher reimbursement opportunity
  • Reaching out to after-school academic programs in schools and communities
  • Working with summer feeding sites to offer CACFP suppers as well
  • Working to migrate existing snack participation to supper, or add a supper to a program
  • Designing an incentive initiative

Check out our CACFP At-Risk Trend Analysis

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