The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced the availability of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for the fiscal year 2019. CACFP is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by ISBE as part of a suite of programs to provide children and families access to healthy meals.
CACFP assists child care centers, Head Start programs, before- and after-school programs, emergency shelters, and day care home providers with funding to provide nutritious meals to children in their care. All participating child care centers and day care homes must provide meals to enrolled children at no additional charge.
“The Child and Adult Care Food Program ensures children in daycare and after-school programs who may not otherwise have regular access to healthy food are getting the proper nutrition they need to fuel their developing bodies and brains,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “More than one in 10 people in Illinois, a third of them children, are food insecure. Physical health and nutrition affect our ability to learn, focus, and grow. ISBE is proud to administer nutrition programs that help ensure all children have what they need to thrive.”
In 2016, more than 1.4 million people in Illinois were food insecure, including nearly half a million children, according to Feeding America.
Individuals in households who participate in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assitance Program (SNAP) are automatically eligible to receive free meal benefits. The USDA Household Income eligibility guidelines determine eligibility to receive free meal benefits for families that do not receive TANF or SNAP benefits. If a household’s income falls within or below the listed guidelines, they should contact their child care center or day care home provider to learn about benefits of the Child and Adult Care Food Program. They may be required to complete an application and provide income, TANF, or SNAP information. Read more