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After School

Provides after school program operators with background information, a comparison chart of available programs, meal pattern charts, directions on how to apply, claiming instructions, policy guidance, resources, and more.

Overview

Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), federal afterschool programs (ASP) give students the nutrition they need in constructive learning environments by providing a snack, a meal, or both. The California Department of Education (CDE) assists program operators in applying and complying with the federal ASP. ASPs may be able to receive reimbursement from one of the different Child Nutrition Programs (CNP): National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Afterschool Snacks, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

  • NSLP Afterschool Snack Program: The NSLP ASP must follow the NSLP ASP federal meal pattern and provide organized, regularly scheduled activities in a structured and supervised environment, including an educational or enrichment activity.
  • CACFP At-risk Afterschool Meals Program, and CACFP Outside-School-Hours Care: The CACFP ASP must meet the CACFP nutrition requirements to receive federal reimbursement for the meals. To provide flexibility, program operators participating in the CACFP can choose to follow either the CACFP or the NSLP meal pattern. Programs must also provide educational or enrichment activities that are open to all children in a structured and supervised environment.
  • SFSP: The SFSP must meet the SFSP federal meal pattern. For flexibility, program operators participating in the SFSP can choose to follow the SFSP or the NSLP meal pattern. SFSP does not require an additional enrichment component.

For more information regarding the ASP that are nonmeal pattern related, visit the CDE Expanded Learning web page.

This web page was updated as of October 2020.

Definitions

Below are definitions and acronyms related to the ASP.

21st CCLC: This is a federal funding source that ASP’s can apply for on an annual basis through the CDE Expanded Learning Division. This funding supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during nonschool hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. The program helps students meet state and local standards in core academic subjects and offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; literacy and other educational services are also offered to the families of participating children.

ASES Program: This is a federal funding source that ASP’s can apply for on an annual basis through the CDE Expanded Learning Division. This program involves collaboration among parents, youth, representatives from schools and governmental agencies, such as local law enforcement and local parks and recreation departments, and individuals from community-based organizations and the private sector. Partnerships are formed between schools and local community resources to provide literacy, academic enrichment, and safe, constructive alternatives for students in kindergarten through grade 9 (K–9).

Afterschool Programs: The programs that give children and teenagers the nutrition they need, and draws them into constructive activities that are safe, fun, and filled with opportunities for learning after the school day.

Child and Adult Care Food Program: The CACFP provides nutritious meals and snacks to infants and children as a regular part of their day care.

CBO: A public or private nonprofit organization that is representative of a community or a significant segment of a community and works to meet community needs.

Eligibility: Refers to how the afterschool program qualifies for funding and is reimbursed. Sites that are area eligible qualify by being located in a low-income area (50 percent free and reduced-price NSLP) and receive the highest rate of reimbursement for all snacks and meals served. Snacks served by sites that are not area eligible are reimbursed based on an individual child’s household income.

For-profit CBO: Must be operating an existing CACFP child care center to add an
at-risk site. For more information, refer to the USDA At-Risk Afterschool Meals Handbook External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

FRAC Afterschool Nutrition Programs: FRAC is a national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and under nutrition in the United States.

Point of Service: Point in the food service operation where a determination can accurately be made that a reimbursable free, reduced price, or paid meal or snack has been served to an eligible child.

National School Lunch Program: The NSLP assists schools and other agencies to provide nutritious lunches to children at reasonable prices.

Summer Food Service Program: A program that reimburses program operators for serving free, healthy meals to children and adolescents 18 years of age and younger during periods when they are out of school for 15 or more consecutive school days. SFSP Operators include public or private nonprofit school food authorities (SFA); public or private nonprofit colleges or universities; public or private nonprofit residential summer camps; units of local, county, municipal, state, or federal governments; or any other type of tax-exempt private nonprofit organizations.

Vendors: If kitchen facilities are not available on-site, programs usually contract with a vendor. Potential vendors include district school food service departments, community kitchens, food banks, hospitals, other nonprofit organizations, and for-profit companies.

Comparison Chart

This chart highlights key components of the federally reimbursable snack and meal programs to assist out of school time programs in deciding which meal program is the best fit.

Key

*Refer to Definitions tab.

**Additional meals (breakfast, lunch, and/or supper) can be served under the CACFP At-risk, the CACFP, and the SFSP. For more information, contact the program specialist.

Criteria NSLP Afterschool* CACFP
At-risk*
CACFP*
SFSP
Eligible Organization
  • Public or Private Schools/County Offices of Education (COE)
  • District in partnership with nonprofit Community Based Organization (CBO)*
  • Public or Private Schools/COE
  • Nonprofit CBO with school partnership
  • Nonprofit CBO
  • Governmental Agency
  • For-profit CBO
  • Public or Private Schools/COE
  • Nonprofit CBO with school partnership
  • Nonprofit CBO
  • Governmental Agency
  • For-profit CBO

  • Public or Private Schools/COE
  • Nonprofit CBO
  • Governmental Agency
  • Tribal Agency
  • Migrant Agency
Ages School-age children age 18 and younger School-age children age 18 and younger School-age children age 12 and younger School-age children age 18 and younger
Food Available Snack Snack/Meal** Snack/Meal** Snack/Meal**
Eligibility* Individual or Site Site Individual Site
Time Period After school After school, weekends, and school holidays After school When school is not in session
Days of Service School days only Generally during the school year 365 days per year, but generally during the school year Generally during summer
Can program contract with vendor? * Yes
Yes, especially if no kitchen facilities are available
on-site
Yes, especially if no kitchen facilities are available
on-site
Yes
Nutrition Standards
  • Meet snack meal pattern, and
  • Meet California Education Code (EC) nutrition standards (After School Education and Safety (ASES)* Program and 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC)* grantees only)
  • Meet snack meal pattern, and
  • Meet EC nutrition standards (ASES Program* and 21st CCLC* grantees only)

  • Meet snack meal pattern, and
  • Meet EC nutrition standards (ASES Program* and 21st CCLC* grantees only)

  • Meet snack meal pattern, and
  • Meet EC nutrition standards (ASES Program* and 21st CCLC* grantees only)

Enrichment Activities Required Yes Yes Yes No
Monitoring Oversight by Local Program 2 times per year for each site; first review must occur by the fourth week in operation 3 times per year if a sponsoring organization 3 times per year if a sponsoring organization 1st week, then by 4th week, then by March 1st, and then one in summer
Training Requirement None Annual Annual Annual
Pros/Cons (from ASP perspective)
  • Less administrative work
  • Less control over snack program
  • More administrative work
  • Meals can be served in addition to snacks
  • More control over snack program
  • More administrative work
  • Meals can be served in addition to snacks
  • More control over snack program
  • Reduced paperwork if operating during summer since snack program can stay the same
  • Meals can be served during school vacation periods of 15 days or more

How to Apply

To apply for a CNP ASP you must (1) choose one of the CNP meal patterns that best fits your needs, and (2) apply through that specific program.

NSLP ASP

Visit the CDE School Nutrition Program Application Process web page or you can contact the ASP specialist below:

  • Mia Bertacchi
    Child Nutrition Assistant, Northern School Nutrition Programs Unit
    mbertacchi@cde.ca.gov

  • Lori Porter
    Child Nutrition Consultant, Southern School Nutrition Programs Unit
    lporter@cde.ca.gov

CACFP At-risk or CACFP Out of School Day Afterschool Program

Visit the CDE CACFP Contact List web page or you can contact the ASP specialist below:

SFSP snack

Visit the CDE School Food Service Program web page or you can contact the specialist below:

After School Education and Safety Program or 21st Century Community Learning Centers

To apply for annual funding through the After School Education and Safety Program or the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, visit the CDE Expanded Learning Division Funding Opportunities web page.

Additional Funding

There are two additional federal funding sources for ASPs: 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) and After School Education and Safety (ASES) Program.

  • The 21st CCLC provides opportunities for communities to establish or expand activities that focus on improved academic achievement, enrichment services, and family literacy and educational development services.

  • The ASES Program is to create incentives for establishing locally driven expanded learning programs, including ASPs that partner with public schools and communities to provide academic and literacy support, and safe, constructive alternatives for youth.

CNP Operators may participate in CNPs which include the ASP, NSLP, the CACFP, and SFSP and also apply for additional funding through the 21st CCLC and ASES programs. For additional information and how to apply, visit the CDE Expanded Learning Division Funding Opportunities web page.

Meal Pattern Requirements

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has provided reference charts describing the meal pattern requirements. Program operators participating in the afterschool snack or meal programs must comply with the meal pattern requirements below.

Meal Patterns Description
NSLP Meal Pattern for Afterschool Snack Service Handout External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) The NSLP meal pattern for afterschool snack for children ages 1 through 18 years. If the operator is also participating in the After School Education and Safety (ASES) or the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, the operator must follow both the NSLP Meal Pattern and the California Nutrition Standards below.
CACFP Meal Pattern Handout External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) The CACFP child meal pattern for snack for children ages 1 through 18 years. If the operator is also participating in the ASES or the 21st CCLC program, the operator must follow both the CACFP Meal Pattern (or NSLP Meal Pattern) and the California Nutrition Standards below.
SFSP Snack (Supplement) Meal Pattern web page External link opens in new window or tab. The SFSP child meal pattern for snacks for children ages 1 through 18 years. If the operator is also participating in the ASES or the 21st CCLC program, the operator must follow both the SFSP Snack Meal Pattern (or NSLP Meal Pattern) and the California Nutrition Standards below.
California Nutrition Standards for ASP web page All snacks provided to students in the ASES or the 21st CCLC programs, at minimum must meet the California Nutrition Standards.

 

Claiming and Reimbursement

Program operators participating in the CNP must submit a claim to receive their reimbursement payment.

Policy Guidance

Management bulletins (MB) are policy guidance provided by the CDE to further explain a topic. The following MBs are state and federal policy guidance related to the ASP.

NSLP Afterschool Snack Program

Release Date Topic Subject Reference Number
May 2014 At-risk Streamlining Child and Adult Care Food Program At-risk Afterschool Meal Participation for School Food Authorities SNP-21-2014
January 2014 Afterschool Assembly Bill 626—Afterschool Meals SNP-05-2014

To access all of the School Nutrition Programs MBs, visit the CDE School Nutrition Programs MBs web page.

CACFP At-risk Afterschool Meals Program and Outside-School-Hours Care

Release Date Topic Subject Reference Number
May 2017 Taking Food Components Off-site Taking Food Components Off-site in the At-risk Afterschool Meals Program CACFP-10-2017
May 2014 Streamlining At-risk Streamlining Child and Adult Care Food Program At-risk Afterschool Meal Participation for School Food Authorities CACFP-06-2014
April 2013 Point of Service Point of service for the At-risk Afterschool Meal USDA-CACFP-04-2013
August 2012 Health and Safety Standards for Outside-school-hours Care Centers and At-risk Afterschool Care Centers Health and Safety Standards USDA-CACFP-16-2012
May 2012 At-risk, Afterschool Meals Component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program, Questions and Answers At-risk Afterschool Meals Component Q and A USDA-CACFP-11-2012
January 2011 Expansion of At-risk Afterschool Meals in the Child and Adult Care Food Program Expansion of At-risk Afterschool Meals USDA-CACFP-02-2011
July 2011 CACFP Handbook CACFP At-risk Afterschool Meals Handbook USDA-CACFP-01-2011

To access all of the CACFP MBs, visit the CDE CACFP MBs web page.

SFSP

The SFSP snack program does not currently have any MBs related to the ASP. To access all of the Summer Food MBs, visit the CDE Summer Food MBs web page.

Resources

Below are resources separated by each program and enrichment resources for the NSLP and CAFCP under ASP. For NSLP and CACFP under ASP educational or enrichment activities must be provided that are open to all children in an organized, structured, and supervised environment. Examples include, but are not limited to, nutrition lessons, homework assistance, cooking in the classroom, supervised drop-in athletic programs, arts and crafts, life skills, and organized fitness activities.

NSLP

Resource Description
CDE Meal Supplements (Snacks) Under the NSLP Provides information about sponsoring after school snacks under the NSLP.
Communities Adolescents Nutrition Fitness (CANFIT)
Healthy Snack Guide for Your After School Programs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Offers snack menus and healthy recipes using foods that are easily obtained at convenience stores and fall within the federal reimbursement rate budget.

CACFP

Resource Description
CDE CACFP Meal Patterns web page Includes meal patterns, upcoming workshop and conference information, online courses, resources, policy guidance, compliance, frequently asked questions, and contact information for CACFP Operators.
USDA At-risk Afterschool Meals Program Handbook External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Addresses CACFP requirements that apply to At-risk Afterschool Meals sponsors, including eligibility requirements, how to apply, meal patterns, food service requirements, reimbursement, and more.
USDA CACFP At-risk Afterschool Care Handbook – Designed Version External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) Addresses CACFP requirements that apply to At-risk Afterschool Meals sponsors, including eligibility requirements, how to apply, meal patterns, food service requirements, reimbursement, and more.
CANFIT Healthy Snack Guide for Your After School Programs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Offers snack menus and healthy recipes using foods that are easily obtained at convenience stores and fall within the federal reimbursement rate budget.
CANFIT Healthy Snack Guide for Your After School Program web page External link opens in new window or tab. Sample snack menus are available in the CANFIT Programs.

SFSP

Resource Description
CANFIT Healthy Snack Guide for Your After School Programs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Offers snack menus and healthy recipes using foods that are easily obtained at convenience stores and fall within the federal reimbursement rate budget.

21st CCLC and ASES Program

Resource Description
CDE Expanded Learning Division
Resources web page

Offers resources related to the 21st CCLC and ASES, including calendar of events, grant requirements, online resources, complaint procedures, historical reports, and policy briefs.

Enrichment Ideas

Resource Description
CDE Child Nutrition Programs Resource Library web page Contains resources and additional resource databases that can be used to develop enrichment activities such as nutrition education and cooking in the classroom, recipes, and more.
USDA Team Nutrition Education Materials External link opens in new window or tab. Information about the USDA’s Team Nutrition Initiative that provides free nutrition education materials created for children in the CNP. Team Nutrition offers a variety of online games, books, stickers, recipes and nutrition education activities for children.
CDE California Farm to Child Nutrition Programs web page Includes a variety of resources to assist CNP in implementing a farm to school program including information on training, finding farms, food safety on farms, local procurement, compliance, nutrition, and agriculture-based education.
CDE Straw Bale Gardening in CNPs online course
Provides step-by-step instructions for creating and maintaining a straw bale garden.
California After School Resource Center web page External link opens in new window or tab. The center offers online courses and resources on healthy snacks, nutrition education, physical activity, and related workshop opportunities.

Others

Resource Description
Food Research and Action Center Afterschool Nutrition Standards of Excellence External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) Provides information on how to implement the Afterschool Nutrition Standards of Excellence. The primary goal of evaluating afterschool nutrition sites and encouraging them to meet high standards is to increase the quality of food served and improve the program’s environment so hungry children receive nutritious snacks and meals after school in an atmosphere that promotes healthy lifestyle choices.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

For a list of afterschool meals Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for CACFP Afterschool snack, please visit the USDA Afterschool Meals web page External link opens in new window or tab..

For a list of afterschool meals FAQs for NSLP Afterschool snack, please visit the USDA NSLP Afterschool Meals web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Contacts

For questions regarding the ASP Meal patterns, contact the CDE Nutrition Services Division by email at aspmealpatterns@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | aspmealpatterns@cde.ca.gov | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 15, 2020
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