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.
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.

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: Thursday, June 10, 2021
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