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Adult Day Care Center Component

Resources and information regarding the CACFP participation requirements for adult day care, support day care, adult day health care, and Alzheimer's resource centers.

General Information

An Overview of the Adult Day Care Component

The adult day care component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is available to public or private nonprofit organizations, or certain for-profit organizations, that provide nonresidential day care services to functionally impaired adults or adults who are 60 years of age or older.
Examples of adult day care facilities that may participate:

  • Adult day care centers
  • Support day care centers
  • Adult day health centers
  • Approved Alzheimer centers

The CACFP desires to enhance the health and well being of all adult day care participants by ensuring access to nutritious meals. This program provides supplemental funding to assist centers in providing a quality nutrition program. You can claim reimbursement for up to two meals and one snack, or two snacks and one meal, for each eligible participant, each day.

Meals claimed for reimbursement must meet specific guidelines; and agencies must maintain specific eligibility, menu, and meal production records in order to substantiate reimbursements received from the CACFP.

The CACFP is administered nationally by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and governed by Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR) Part 226. The Department of Education Nutrition Services Division (NSD) administers it in the State of California. For additional information or assistance, you may contact NSD at 916-445-0850 or toll free at 800-952-5609.

What types of agencies may apply?

  • A private nonprofit agency must have tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954; or be moving toward such status.
  • A public agency.
  • An independent nonprofit center may apply for sponsorship using its own Internal Revenue Service nonprofit status.

Public or private nonprofit agencies may apply to administer the CACFP in one or more centers that are under the legal jurisdiction of the agency. This type of agency may also apply to administer the CACFP in one or more centers that are not under the legal jurisdiction of the agency, but each independent center must meet the center eligibility requirements. No administrative funding is available.

A for-profit agency may apply to serve as a sponsoring organization for one or more centers that have the same legal identity as the agency and receive Title XIX or XX funds for at least 25 percent of the clients in each center. You must submit documentation of Grant Awards showing funding under Title XIX or XX with the application. A for-profit organization may not sponsor proprietary Title XIX or Title XX centers that are legally distinct from the organization. However, an independent proprietary (for-profit) center may apply for self-sponsorship if it receives funding for adult clients under Title XIX or Title XX.

Each type of agency or center can be a sponsor. Each sponsor must agree to accept full administrative and financial responsibility for the operation of the CACFP at all facilities approved under its sponsorship.

Center Eligibility

All sites operated by an agency must be approved for participation in the CACFP. Each participating center may serve breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks that meet prescribed nutritional standards outlined in the Meal Pattern Requirements (Schedule B). You must indicate each meal type that you anitpicate serving at the site on the Site Application.

Each center must be licensed or approved to operate by a federal, state or local government agency. All licenses must be current. A copy of each license or proof of approval to operate must accompany the application.

In addition, a for-profit center may participate as a proprietary Title XIX or Title XX center only if at least 25 percent of its enrolled eligible participants are beneficiaries of one of these types of funding. Title XIX and Title XX beneficiaries are individuals for whom a center receives the funds. Eligibility of the center must be established under one source. Once a proprietary center is determined eligible to participate, it can only claim reimbursement during months when at least 25 percent of its enrolled participants are Title XIX or Title XX beneficiaries. Meals cannot be claimed any month the level falls below 25 percent.

Adult Meal Pattern

The purpose of the CACFP is to assist centers in providing quality meals meeting the nutritional needs of center participants. The CACFP adult meal pattern specifies the minimum quantities of each specified food component that must be offered for each major meal or snack.

Agencies should be aware that the CACFP meal pattern requirements may not be the same as the California Title 22 (licensing) or Federal Title III(C) (Senior Nutrition Program) meal pattern requirements. Also, for clients with medically restricted or adapted diets, the center must obtain a dietary prescription from a recognized by medical authority and serve meals meeting the medical requirements or we cannot reimburse the meal.

Reimbursement and Client Eligibility Process

"Reimbursement" means financial assistance paid or payable to agencies for meals served to eligible adults. We make reimbursement payments monthly based upon claims submitted by the agency. We pay reimbursement based upon the assigned reimbursement rates times the number of meals served to eligible participants. Agencies receive, in addition to regular federal meal reimbursement, cash-in-lieu of commodities for every lunch and supper reimbursed under the CACFP. Cash-in-lieu of commodities is a program that provides additional reimbursement for each lunch and supper reimbursed under the CACFP. The cash-in-lieu amount is the estimated per meal cash value of commodities the agency would be eligible to receive if the program was offered in California.

Reimbursement rates are based on the individual meal category of the eligible participants being served as determined by the current eligibility. Meal category documentation must be collected and certified by the sponsor using NSD Eligibility forms.

The USDA adjusts reimbursement rates annually to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index. For the sake of clarity, meals served to participants who are eligible for free meals are called "free" meals; meals served to participants who are eligible for reduced-price meals are called "reduced-price" meals; and those served to participants who are not eligible for either free or reduced-price meals will be called "base" meals. This breakdown is termed the meal category eligibility.

An eligibility roster containing the name and meal category of each enrolled, participating adult must be completed for each month in which you report meal category eligibility on the claim form. Each participating site must also maintain a daily record of meals served to eligible adults by type of meal. There are currently two methods of claiming allowed under the CACFP: "fixed percentage method" and "actual count method." All eligibility forms are available on our CACFP Adult Component Eligibility Materials page.

Advance Payments

An advance payment is the estimated monthly reimbursement issued before it is actually earned. Except time lines in disbursing advances to sponsored sites, all conditions that apply to monthly reimbursement (i.e., allowable expenditures) also apply to the cash advance. We intend the advance to relieve cash flow problems and issue it upon request on a one-time basis.

Civil Rights Requirements

All participating agencies must comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1994, Title IX of the USDA Administrative Regulations, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1974. No otherwise eligible adult shall be denied CACFP benefits because of race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability.

Contracts for Vended Meals

You must submit a copy of the contract or agreement for the current fiscal year with the application package. Sponsors contracting with a commercial vendor for meals must comply with the regulations, 7 CFR Part 226.21, 226.22, and 2 CFR 200.

Please contact your CACFP Specialist for a sample contract and vending agreement that meet federal requirements. Please note: other regulations may apply.

Title III(C) Older Americans Act Elderly Nutrition Program Funding

The use of Title III C-1 funding is allowable only in specific cases where an Adult Day Care (ADC) meets the congregate nutrition site eligibility criteria. To be an eligible Title III C-1 congregate nutrition site, the site must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Be open to the general public [45 CFR 1321.53(b) (3)].
  • Not means test (income verification) [OAA 315(b) (3)].
  • Provide participants the opportunity to make voluntary contributions and not deny service for not contributing to the cost of the service [OAA 315(b) (4); 22 CCR §7638.9].
  • Not receive funds from another source for the cost of the same meal, equipment, or services [70 CFR 51928].
  • Meals may not be part of a service package (i.e., lunch included with daily rate).

Title III C-1 congregate meal providers/kitchens may, in certain circumstances, contract with an Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) center or ADC to provide participant meals. However, the ADHC or ADC would have to pay the congregate meal provider/kitchen for the cost to produce the meals. These meals cannot be counted as Title III C-1 meals because most ADHC or ADC do not meet ALL of the congregate nutrition site eligibility criteria listed above.

If an ADHC or ADC is enrolled in the CACFP and meets the above eligibility criteria to receive Title III C-1 funds, and receives meals from a Title III C-1 eligible congregate meal provider/kitchen, the enrolled agency may not claim these meals under the CACFP.

For example, suppose your center is enrolled in the CACFP and receives lunches for your participants from a congregate meal provider that receives Title III C-1 funding. None of these lunches provided by the congregate meal provider may be claimed by your center on your monthly CACFP claim. However, any other meals or snacks that you serve, that are prepared in your center’s kitchen, may be claimed.

Audit Requirements

Agencies participating in the CACFP must meet the requirements of the Single Audit Act as amended in 1996 and 2003. The Act specifies that any agency expending more than $500,000 a year in federal funds from one or more sources must have an organization-wide audit performed according to the uniform audit standards. Agencies not required by the Office of Management and Budget to undergo an organization-wide audit, could be subject to a limited scope audit. The Department of Education's Audits and Investigations Division will conduct and fund the limited scope audit.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Thursday, May 23, 2019
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