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Getting Started with Food Programs

Getting Started with Food programs can be as easy as 1-2-3.  CCNI is here to help you through every step of the process.  

The following steps will help you get started in the food program with CCNI.  

Step 1:  Have a valid Minnesota Family Child Care License

Step 2:  Contact our office.   CCNI will send you a mailed packet of information regarding our services, samples of our forms, etc. so you can see our program and compare to other Minnesota Sponsors

Step 3:  Sign an agreement with CCNI

Which Tier am I in?  So many providers want to know if they live in Tier I or Tier II area.  You can go to this link and type in your address. ***This information may change.  You are not approved for the higher tier eligilble area unless approved by CCNI and Minnesota Department of Education, Food & Nutrition Service.


Food Program Basics

Why CACFP Is Important

USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program plays a vital role in improving the quality of day care and making it more affordable for many low-income families.  Each day, 2.9 million children receive nutritious meals and snacks through CACFP. 

A General Overview

CACFP is authorized at section 17 of the National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1766).  Program regulations are issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under 7 CFR part 226.

Program Administration

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers CACFP through grants to States.  The program is administered within most States by the State educational agency.

Independent centers and sponsoring organizations enter into agreements with their administering State agencies to assume administrative and financial responsibility for CACFP operations. CACFP serves nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children and adults who are enrolled for care at participating child care centers, day care homes, and adult day care centers. CACFP also provides meals to children residing in emergency shelters, and snacks to youths participating in afterschool care programs.

As a sponsor of the Child & Adult Care Food Program, Child Care & Nutrition works exclusively with Family Child Care Providers, also known as Day Care Homes.

A family or group day care home must sign an agreement with a sponsoring organization to participate in CACFP.  Day care homes must be licensed or approved to provide day care services.  Reimbursement for meals served in day care homes is based upon eligibility for tier I rates (which targets higher levels of reimbursement to low-income areas, providers, or children) or lower tier II rates.

Meal Reimbursement

Program payments for day care homes are based on the number of meals served to enrolled children, multiplied by the appropriate reimbursement rate for each breakfast, lunch, supper, or snack they are approved to serve. 

Tier I day care homes are those that are located in low-income areas, or those in which the provider’s household income is at or below 185 percent of the Federal income poverty guidelines.  Sponsoring organizations may use elementary school free and reduced price enrollment data or census block group data to determine which areas are low-income.

Tier II homes are those family day care homes which do not meet the location or provider income criteria for a tier I home.  The provider in a tier II home may elect to have the sponsoring organization identify income-eligible children, so that meals served to those children who qualify for free and reduced price meals would be reimbursed at the higher tier I rates.

A child’s eligibility for tier I rates in a tier II day care home may be documented through submission of an income eligibility statement which details family size and income or participation in any of a number of means-tested State or Federal programs with eligibility at or below 185 percent of poverty.

Need Help?

CCNI provides free consultations if you are considering becoming part of a food program.  

There are no obligations and we are happy to discuss your specific childcare business conditions to help you determine if a food program is right for you.

Simply fill out a Request for a Free Consultation online and we will contact you.

Look Who's Talking about CCNI

I am a daycare provider in Moorhead and what I like best about CCNI is the wonderful staff.  They have always been so nice and helpful whenever I have a question or concern.  I love their computer program and can’t imagine not having it.  When my computer went down, they where so helpful in getting me back on track.

 Jodi, Clay County