Getting Started with Good Nutrition, Health & Wellness

A practical guide to help Vermont child care centers create a healthy learning environment. Funded in part by a Team Nutrition Grant from USDA, this guide offers guidance and practical ideas to child care centers interested in improving their approach to nutrition, nutrition education, physical activity, and wellness in their child care programs and curricula. This guide provides supports to these programs through suggested practices to enhance the health and wellness of children while still meeting local, state and national standards and regulations.

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

CACFP is the Child and Adult Care Food Program, a federal program that provides healthy meals and snacks to children and adults receiving day care services. The program plays a vital role in improving the quality of day care and making it more affordable for many low-income families.  In addition to day care, CACFP helps make afterschool programs more appealing to at-risk youth. By offering nutritious snacks in programs serving low-income areas, centers can increase participation and know that youth are having a healthy snack.

Child Care Centers

This program provides reimbursement for nutritious meal and snacks to public or private nonprofit child care centers, outside-school-hours care centers, Head Start programs, and other institutions which are licensed or approved to provide day care services may participate in CACFP, independently or as sponsored centers. For profit centers must receive title funds (childcare subsidy funds) for at least 25 percent of enrolled children or licensed capacity (which ever is less) or at least 25 percent of the children in care must be eligible for free and reduced price meals.  Reimbursement for two meals and one snack or two snacks and one meal may be claimed per child per day. All meals and snacks must meet the meal pattern requirements for children and infants. Meals served to children are reimbursed at rates based upon income levels of the children in care.

Daycare Homes/Sponsors

This program provides reimbursement for nutritious meals and snacks served to children (12 years of age and younger) and infants in day care homes. Reimbursement is based on the eligibility of the local geographic area or town, the income level of the childcare provider or the children in care. Up to two meals and one snack, or one meal and two snacks a day can be reimbursed for each child. To participate in the CACFP, day care providers must sign an agreement with a sponsoring organization.  There are seven daycare home sponsoring organizations that administer the CACFP in Vermont. Sponsors must recruit, train, monitor and reimburse all day care home providers. All meals and snacks must meet the requirements of the CACFP meal patterns for children and infants.

Area Eligible Afterschool Snack & Supper Programs

Community-based programs that offer enrichment activities for children and teenagers, after the regular school day ends, can provide free snacks and suppers through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Eligible facilities include public and private schools, nonresidential child care centers, outside school-hours care centers and some Title XX centers. To participate, sponsors must have a structured, supervised after-school enrichment program. Cash assistance is available for up to one snack and one supper a day for each student. All meals must meet the requirements of the CACFP Meal Pattern. Programs must be offered in areas where at least 50% of the children are eligible for free and reduced price meals based upon school data. View the program manual.

Adult Care Programs

This program provides cash assistance for nutritious meals and snacks served to adults in public or private nonresidential day care centers who are at least 60 years of age or functionally impaired adults of any age who reside in the community. Reimbursement is based on the income levels of the enrolled adults. Cash assistance is available for up to two meals and one snack, or one meal and two snacks a day for each adult. All meals and snacks must meet the requirements of the CACFP Meal Pattern for Adults.


Cash in lieu of commodities
In addition to cash reimbursement for meals and snacks, USDA makes donated agricultural commodities or cash-in-lieu of commodities available to institutions participating in CACFP for lunches and suppers served.

Meal Reimbursement
Independent centers and sponsoring organizations receive cash reimbursement for serving meals to enrolled children and adults that meet Federal nutritional guidelines. The CACFP meal pattern varies according to age and types of meal served. Centers and day care homes may be approved to claim up to two reimbursable meals (breakfast, lunch or supper) and one snack, or two snacks and one meal, to each eligible participant, each day. Afterschool care programs may claim reimbursement for serving each child one snack, each day.

Sponsoring Organizations
Sponsoring organizations play a critical role in supporting home day care providers and centers through training, technical assistance and monitoring. All family or group day care homes must come into the program under a sponsoring organization. The sponsoring organization provides reimbursement to the day care homes and sponsored centers for meals and snacks served. View a directory of Day Care Home Sponsors.


View documents related to enrollment, eligibility, meal patterns, record keeping and program administration.

Area Eligible Afterschool Snack & Supper Program Manual
This document provides information related to eligibility, reimbursement, meal content, record keeping requirements and sample records and reports.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Policy Memos
USDA publishes policies on a regular basis that establish procedures, explain regulations, or require new practices. These policy memoranda have the force of regulation.

Day Care Home Sponsor Directory
View current contact information including organization, name, phone number, e-mail and mailing address.

Online Resources
View a list of off-site resources, descriptions and links available to program providers.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


Karen Abbott at or (802) 479-1160

Page Last Updated on November 5, 2015