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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: These programs are administered by the Department of Social (CDSS). For CACFP questions, visit the CDSS CACFP web page External link opens in new window or tab. or email CACFPInfo@dss.ca.gov.

  • 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.

Definitions

Below are definitions and acronyms related to the ASP.

21st CCLC: This state-administered, federally funded program provides five-year grant funding to establish or expand before-and after-school programs that provide transitional kindergarten through twelfth-grade students (particularly students who attend schools in need of improvement) with academic enrichment opportunities and supportive services to help the students meet state and local standards in core content areas. In California, this funding is broken into two: 21stCCLC serves students in transitional kindergarten through ninth grade. After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) serves students in high school.

ASES Program: The ASES Program funds the establishment of local after school education and enrichment programs. These programs are created through partnerships between schools and local community resources to provide literacy, academic enrichment and safe constructive alternatives for students in transitional kindergarten through ninth grade (K–9). Funding is designed to: (1) maintain existing before and after school program funding; and (2) provide eligibility to all elementary and middle schools that submit quality applications throughout California. The current funding level for the ASES program is $600 million.

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.

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, regarding the SFSP, contact the program specialist by email at SFSP@cde.ca.gov. For more information regarding CACFP, visit the CDSS CACFP web page External link opens in new window or tab. or call 1-833-559-2420.

Criteria NSLP Afterschool* 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
  • Governmental Agency
  • Tribal Agency
  • Migrant Agency
Ages School-age children age 18 and younger
  • School-age children age 18 and younger

  • Persons over 18 years of age who are determined by a State educational agency or a local public educational agency of a State to be mentally or physically disabled and who participate in a public or nonprofit private school program established for the mentally or physically disabled.
Food Available Snack Snack/Meal**
Eligibility* Individual or Site Site
Time Period After school When school is not in session
Days of Service School days only Generally during summer or during school breaks of 15 or more school days
Can program contract with vendor? * Yes
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)

Enrichment Activities Required Yes No
Monitoring Oversight by Local Program 2 times per year for each site; first review must occur by the fourth week in operation A pre-operational visit is required for new sites. Sponsors must complete a site visit during the first two weeks of operation and a full food service review must be completed within four weeks of operation.
Training Requirement None Annual

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 your SNP county analyst by email at SNPInfo@cde.ca.gov.

SFSP snack

Visit the CDE Food Service Program web page or you can contact the SFSP team by email at SFSP@cde.ca.gov.

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 state-administered, federally funded program provides five-year grant funding to establish or expand before-and after-school programs that provide transitional kindergarten through twelfth-grade students (particularly students who attend schools in need of improvement) with academic enrichment opportunities and supportive services to help the students meet state and local standards in core content areas. In California, this funding is broken into two: 21st CCLC serves students in transitional kindergarten through ninth grade. After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) serves students in high school.

  • The ASES Program funds the establishment of local after school education and enrichment programs. These programs are created through partnerships between schools and local community resources to provide literacy, academic enrichment and safe constructive alternatives for students in transitional kindergarten through ninth grade (K–9). Funding is designed to: (1) maintain existing before and after school program funding; and (2) provide eligibility to all elementary and middle schools that submit quality applications throughout California. The current funding level for the ASES program is $600 million.

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
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.
SFSP Snack (Supplement) Meal Pattern web page External link opens in new window or tab.

The SFSP child meal pattern for snacks for school-age children aged 18 and younger or persons over 18 years of age who are determined by a State educational agency or a local public educational agency of a State to be mentally or physically disabled and who participate in a public or nonprofit private school program established for the mentally or physically disabled.

If the operator is also participating in the ASES or the 21stCCLC program, the operator must follow:

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
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.

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 under ASP. For NSLP 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.

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 School 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 meal FAQs for NSLP Afterschool snacks, please visit the USDA NSLP Afterschool Meals web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Contacts

California Department of Education

National School Lunch Program Afterschool Snacks.
For questions and to apply for the NSLP Afterschool Snacks, contact your SNP by email at SNPInfo@cde.ca.gov.

Summer Food Service Program
For questions and to apply for the SFSP, contact the SFSP team by email at SFSP@cde.ca.gov.

California Department of Social Services

Child and Adult Food Care Program
The CDSS administers the CACFP At-risk Afterschool Meals Program and CACFP Outside-School-Hours Care. The CACFP programs can complement meal service in a childcare and afterschool setting, for more information visit the CDSS CACFP web page External link opens in new window or tab. or email CACFPInfo@dss.ca.gov.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, March 11, 2024
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