Child and Adult Care Food Program

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides reimbursement for healthy meals and snacks served to Colorado’s children and adults in child care centers and homes, afterschool programs, emergency and homeless shelters, Head Start, Early Head Start and outside-school-hours programs and adult day care centers. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the CACFP and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment administers the program.
Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Information 
The CACFP is keeping a close eye on information regarding the COVID-19. We continue to follow any guidance given by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE). If centers, parents, or caregivers have questions, please refer them to the CDPHE website.
Information will be updated as soon as new details arise. Please refer to the following websites for more information about COVID-19:
USDA Nationwide Waivers 
The following nationwide waivers have been established by the United States Department of Agriculture-Food and Nurtition Service (USDA-FNS) to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19 and is based on the exceptional circumstances of this public health emergency. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment-Child and Adult Care Food Program (CDPHE-CACFP) has informed the USDA that we elect to be subject to the following waivers: 

Please review the following CACFP Procedure Memos in regards to the above mentioned USDA waivers: 

Public Notice
Per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Policy Bulletin SP 15-2018, CACFP 12-2018, SFSP 05-2018, State Agencies must submit requests to waive Child Nutrition Program requirements to their Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) regional office. CDPHE-CACFP has submitted the following state-wide waivers as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak. The goal of these waivers is to ensure children and adults can continue to receive meals when social distancing protocols are in place to control the spread of COVID-19. 

Additional Resources

​CACFP is available at emergency shelters that provide temporary housing for displaced families. CACFP serves children 0-18 years and disabled adult participants. Contact Naomi Steenson at CDPHE if you have questions about emergency feeding through CACFP. 

For Child Nutrition Programs administered by the Colorado Department of Education and to provide emergency feeding through SSP or SFSP, contact McKenna Pullen at 720-644-7259. 


How to apply for CACFP 

  • To begin the application process, please complete and return the CACFP New Applicant Intake Form
  • Licensed family child care home providers can participate in the CACFP through a sponsoring organization.
  • When School’s Out: A comparison of child nutrition options (Afterschool Snack Program, CACFP’s afterschool program and the Summer Food Service Program). 
  • Use this cost-benefit tool to see how your program can benefit from CACFP participation.
CHEARS is the Colorado Healthy Eating Application and Reimbursement System.
Sign up for one of our free training classes. Watch videos and learn more.
Check out our new Quick Bites training videos covering everything from food safety to time management.
Find new information on meal pattern requirements. They are now better matched with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

A School Food Authority (SFA) is the administering unit for the operation of a school feeding program, such as NSLP or SFSP. The application process for an SFA has streamlined requirements.

Getting kids in care programs to eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, and garden produce.
CHEARS manuals and guides, policy updates.
Record of meals served, child and adult menus and production records, list of items for centers, civil rights materials.
Tools for meeting higher nutritional standards.
CACFP newsletter - for copies of earlier issues, please contact the CACFP office at 303-692-2330.
Who can participate
Child care centers, family day care homes or other early education facilities serving:
  • Infants and children through age 12.
  • Children of migrant workers through age 15.
  • Centers that provide care for physically and mentally disabled people where most children are 18 and younger.
  • Daycare facilities that serve adults in a nonresidential setting.
Civil rights information
Related programs, partners, and child nutrition resources