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CACFP Administrative Manual Section 1.3

Child and Adult Care Food Program Administrative Manual Section 1.3: Program Agreement Type.
Important Notice: CACFP Program Moved to CDSS

The Early Childhood Development Act of 2020 (Senate Bill (SB) 98, Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) authorized the transfer of child care and development programs administered by the California Department of Education to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) effective July 1, 2021. The content on this page may not be current and involves the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that has moved to CDSS. Visit the CDSS CACFP web page External link opens in new window or tab. or call 1-833-559-2420 for more information.

Table of Contents
Terms, Definitions, and Acronyms

Section 1: Program Eligibility

1.3 Program Agreement Type

Centers Agreements  

Federal regulations define two ways that centers may enter into an agreement with the CDE in order to participate in the CACFP; they may be independent centers or center sponsors.

Independent Center

An independent center is an agency that operates the CACFP at a single physical site. Independent centers enter into an agreement with the CDE to assume financial and administrative responsibility for program operations.

Center Sponsor

A center sponsor is an agency that manages food service programs at multiple, approved center sites. Center sponsors enter into an agreement with the CDE to assume financial and administrative responsibility for program operations at all sponsored sites. Per CACFP regulations, center sponsors must also meet additional monitoring requirements that help ensure each site remains in compliance.

Center sponsors may manage either affiliated centers (sites owned and operated by the sponsoring organization) or unaffiliated centers.

Sponsors of Unaffiliated Centers

Unaffiliated centers are sites that are owned by another business entity, but have entered into an agreement with a center sponsor for the management of their food service program. SOUCs must submit a list of responsible principals (including a name, a date of birth, and a nonbusiness address) for all unaffiliated sites prior to state agency approval. SOUCs are subject to the same monitoring requirements as center sponsors.

Private, for-profit sponsors may not sponsor any unaffiliated centers.

Agencies may not subcontract program management functions to a third party. Program management functions include monitoring, corrective action, and preparation of application or reimbursement claim materials.

Day Care Home Sponsors

To participate in the CACFP, DCH sponsors must be either public or private nonprofit agencies. DCH providers are eligible to participate in the CACFP only under a DCH sponsor. The DCH provider signs a permanent agreement directly with its sponsor.

References: 7 CFR, sections 226.2, 226.15(c), 226.16(b)(2), 226.16(b)(3), 226.17(a), 226.17a(a)(1)(i), 226.18(b), 226.19(a), and 226.19a(a); MB NSD-CACFP-05-2013 Contracting Out for Management Functions

Questions:   Child and Adult Care Food Programs Branch | 800-952-5609, Option 3
Last Reviewed: Monday, June 28, 2021
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  • CACFP Administrative Manual
    A guide to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) critical compliance standards for centers and day care home (DCH) sponsors.
  • CACFP Manual Terms, Definitions, and Acronyms
    Child and Adult Care Food Program Administrative Manual Terms, Definitions, and Acronyms.
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program
    This web page includes background information, steps on how to apply, the Administrative Manual, meal pattern requirements, claiming information, policy guidance, compliance, trainings, resources, and contacts for program operators.
  • How to Apply to the CACFP
    Information on how to begin the application process for the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
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