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CACFP Administrative Manual Section 8.1

Child and Adult Care Food Program Administrative Manual Section 8.1: Meal Pattern.
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 8: Meal Pattern

Section 8.1 Meal Pattern

CACFP regulations specify three meal patterns:

  • Infant Meal Pattern—for infants from birth through eleven months
  • Meal Pattern for Older Children—for children age one through eighteen years
  • Meal Pattern for Adults—for all participants over eighteen years of age

A copy of the current CACFP meal pattern requirements is located in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS. All meals served to participants must meet or exceed these meal pattern requirements in order to be claimed for reimbursement. Agencies must continue to comply with the current meal pattern approved by the USDA.

Child and Adult Care Food Program Meal Pattern

Effective October 1, 2017, all agencies must comply with the CACFP new meal pattern standards. Refer to the CDE CACFP Meal Patterns web page for more information.

Special Needs and Special Meals

Refer to MB CACFP-08-2017 Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program. SFAs must also refer to MB SNP-02-2017 Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in the School Meal Programs located on the CDE SNP MB web page.  

504 Coordinator and Accommodation Procedures

The 504 Coordinator is responsible for addressing requests for accommodations and ensuring compliance with disability requirements related to meals and meal service. Agencies that employ 15 or more individuals must appoint a coordinator and establish grievance procedures that provide equitable resolution of complaints.

All agencies are encouraged to implement procedures for parents, guardians, and participating adults to request modifications to meal service for participants with disabilities.

References: 7 CFR, section 15b.3(i), 15b.3(k), 15b.26(d)(2), 226.20, 210.10(g); MB CACFP-02-2018 Documentation Requirements for the CACFP Meal Patterns, MB CACFP-09-2017 Nutrition Requirements for Fluid Milk and Fluid Milk Substitutions in the CACFP, MB CACFP-08-2017, SFSP-02-2017 Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program, and MB SNP-02-2017 Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in the School Meal Programs.

Questions:   Child and Adult Care Food Programs Branch | 800-952-5609, Option 3
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Related Content
  • 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.
  • 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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