Division of Community Health Promotion
Bureau of Child Care Food Programs
The Department of Health, Bureau of Child Care Food Programs, administers the Child Care Food Program and its component programs, the Afterschool Snack Program and the Homeless Children Nutrition Program. The goal of these programs is to provide nutritious meals and snacks to children in child care programs and other settings. Proper nutrition during early childhood has a significant effect on brain development, learning ability and health. Meal pattern requirements established by USDA are designed to ensure that meals and snacks provided to children under these programs include the kinds and amounts of food required to meet children’s daily energy and nutrient needs. Using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) for essential nutrients as benchmarks, program regulations specify minimum amounts of each meal component to be offered to children of different ages. During federal fiscal year 03–04, these three programs provided at least one meal or snack to an average of more than 150,000 of Florida’s children each day.
The Child Care Food Program reimburses service providers for meals and snacks served to eligible children in licensed, nonresidential child care facilities. Likewise, the Afterschool Snack Program provides meal reimbursement for children in afterschool educational or enrichment programs and the Homeless Children Nutrition Program for children in temporary residential settings for homeless families and children. The programs are administered by the state under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.
The Child Care Food Program provides meals and snacks to eligible children through a network of some 1,200 private not-for-profit, private for profit and public child care organizations that contract with the department. These contractors provide services in more than 5,500 child care centers and family day care homes and may be reimbursed for up to two meals and one snack per child per day. Licensed child care centers, including Head Start Centers, may participate in the program independently or under the aegis of a sponsoring organization; licensed family day care homes must participate under a sponsoring organization.
Client Eligibility Criteria
Children through age 12 are eligible for the Child Care Food Program, except that children of migrant workers may participate through age 15 and certain disabled individuals are eligible regardless of age. Child care centers are reimbursed at a higher rate of reimbursement for children with family incomes at or below 130% of the federal poverty line; a lesser reimbursement is received for children between 130% and 185% of the poverty line. For children from families with incomes above 185% of the poverty line, meals are reimbursed at the lowest rate. Family day care home providers are eligible for a high (Tier I) or low (Tier II) reimbursement rate based on local elementary school socio-economic factors, census tract information, or the provider’s household income.
In the Afterschool Snack Program, providers are reimbursed for afterschool snacks served to children through age 18 as long as the program is located in a school zone where at least 50% of enrolled children meet eligibility for free and reduced price meals. Reimbursement is at the highest rate.
In the Homeless Children Nutrition Program, meals and snacks are reimbursed for children through age 18. Reimbursement is at the highest rate.