Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

How to Apply to the CACFP

Information on how to begin the application process for the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Thank you for your interest in participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and providing healthy and delicious meals to the children of California!

How to Apply

  1. Contact a CACFP specialist by phone at CACFP Contact List.
  2. The specialist will complete a prescreening questionnaire with you over the phone and follow-up with an email request for information.
  3. Once the specialist has received and reviewed the requested information, they will provide you with access to the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS), where you will complete and submit an online application for your agency.
  4. When your application is complete, a specialist will schedule a preapproval visit to your center. This visit includes training for your staff on all program requirements.

The CACFP application process generally takes several months from the initial application date until a final determination is made.

More Program Information

Child Care Component

Adult Day Care Center Component

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Related Content
  • 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.
Recently Posted in Nutrition
  • Child Nutrition Program Resources Slides (added 09-Apr-2021)
    Web page provides information on Team Nutrition Child Nutrition Program (CNP) resources slides. CNP Operators can use slides to learn about school meals resources, Child and Adult Care Food Program resources, and summer meals resources.
  • Nationwide Waiver for CEP Deadlines (added 05-Apr-2021)
    Based on the public health emergency due to COVID-19, the USDA FNS established a nationwide waiver that makes adjustments to annual CEP deadlines to support the CEP while schools are responding to COVID-19.
  • SFSP Mandatory Training is Now Available (added 05-Apr-2021)
    California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division (NSD) Community Nutrition Programs Unit (CNPU) is pleased to announce that the 2021 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) annual online Mandatory Training is now available.
  • February 23, 2021 Tuesday at 2 Webinar (added 01-Apr-2021)
    School Nutrition Town Hall webinar on February 23, 2021 for school food service operators, chief business officials, and community partners.
  • Income Eligibility Scales for School Year 2021–22 (added 29-Mar-2021)
    Information regarding the addition of the Income Eligibility Guidelines for School Year (SY) 2021–22 to the California Department of Education Website.

  • Using the Crediting Handbook for CACFP Operators (added 29-Mar-2021)
    Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Meal Pattern Compliance–Part One: Using the Crediting Handbook for CACFP Operators online course.
  • Using the USDA Online Food Buying Guide (added 29-Mar-2021)
    Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Meal Pattern Compliance–Part Two: Using the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Online Food Buying Guide (FBG) online course.
  • Cash-in-Lieu of USDA Foods Survey (added 26-Mar-2021)
    This survey provides Child and Adult Care Food Program operators the opportunity to indicate their preference of Cash-in-Lieu of USDA Foods.
  • Registration Open for Virtual Child Care Forums (added 26-Mar-2021)
    The California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division, in collaboration with the WestEd Center for Child and Family Studies, is pleased to announce that registration is open for the virtual 2021 Child Care Forums.
  • DoD Fresh Entitlement Move, April 7, 2021 (added 26-Mar-2021)
    Announcement that all Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Entitlement will move to the State account on April 7, 2021.