The United Sates Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides licensed child care centers with a monetary incentive to serve nutritious meals and snacks to your day care children. For most centers, the rules are very similar to what your state licensing agency already requires…so why not get reimbursed for your efforts and your food service costs!
To participate on the CACFP or Child and Adult Care Food Program in Texas, you must hold a valid license from your state agency to operate a child care center, and either be:
- a 501 (c ) (3) Non-Profit agency, or
- a For-Profit agency with at least 25% of your children qualified as low income or under your state’s tuition subsidy program.
Then you may participate under one of the following two options:
- as an Independent Center:*
- as a client under an Unaffiliated Center Sponsor
* If you own multiple Child Care centers, you may sign up all “owned” centers under one contract
called an Affiliated Center Sponsor
Why Aren’t All Child Care Centers on the CACFP?
The ONLY reason a child care center shouldn’t be participating on the CACFP is if they are ineligible (For-Profit centers with less than 25% low income enrollment)
Eligible Child Care centers who choose not to participate is mainly due to the following reasons:
- The paperwork and red tape seems insurmountable to understand and keep up with;
- Understand “kitchen math” is way beyond the cook and/or director’s understanding;
- Time spent on CACFP paperwork takes too much time away from caring for the kids;
- The center serves low quality meal/snacks and doesn’t want to increase their food costs
- Not fully understanding the tremendous benefits of the CACFP for their Child Care center.
What is an Unaffiliated Sponsor and Why Should I Use Them?
This is a non-profit agency who has a contract with USDA and your state agency to “sponsor” licensed child centers under their CACFP contract. An Unaffiliated Sponsor is legally and financially responsible for your participation on the CACFP. They train your key employees over the CACFP procedures to follow and what documents you complete and maintain a record of. The Unaffiliated Sponsor files your monthly claim for reimbursement and remits payment back to . They monitor your center a minimum of three times per year to ensure meals are being prepared and served as reported and any other required documentation is in place.
Is There A Fee For Using An Unaffiliated Sponsor?
Yes, the sponsor withholds an admin fee, which is typically 15% of your “meal reimbursement” funds your center earns each month. They are not allowed to withhold any of your cash in lieu (CIL) funds.
What is the Differences Between Advance Child Care, Inc. and Other Unaffiliated Sponsors?
Where there is NOT a difference is in what your center will earn. USDA sets the meal rates for all meals and snacks per income level. Sponsors can only charge up to 15% in admin fees and only through the meal reimbursement portion of your claim. Sponsors are not allowed to provide incentives, kickbacks, or other non-CACFP services/products to their client centers.
The main difference is with a sponsor’s management style. For instance:
- Sponsor A may have you fill out your state’s paper forms for maintaining your daily meal count and attendance logs, food production records (meal components and calculated quantities to prepare. They may also have you mail in those weekly forms, as well as your CACFP Enrollment and Income Eligibility forms, food receipts, etc.
- Whereas, Advance Child Care, Inc. is fully automated. While you have the option to mark meal counts and your meal production records manually, our most popular method is for the center to enter this information through a PC Tablet Advance Child Care, Inc. provides you. This allows instance data capture and no need to make manual entries or tedious meal quantity calculations. We also provide you with a scanner to electronically submit your CACFP enrollment, Income Eligibility forms, and food receipts to us.
Another difference is in how quick you are paid. If Sponsor A is manually keying in all data and grading claims, it can take up to 30 to 45 days after the claim before Sponsor A can file a claim on your behalf. That means you are receiving a reimbursement approximately 45 to 60 days after that claim month ended.
Advance Child Care, Inc. has a totally automated system for Child Care Centers. The amount of data to key in is minimal and the claim is internally graded by our system in a matter of seconds (instead of 30 to 45 days). Thus, we are able to reimburse our sponsored centers within 15 to 20 days after the claim month ended.
The next difference is in “experience”. Most Child Care Centers in Texas and in other states elect to go under an Unaffiliated Sponsorbecause of the myriad of regulations that must be followed. Unless you do this for a living year round, it’s very difficult to stay on top of current and ever changing CACFP policies.
It’s no different between sponsors. Sponsor A will expend untold number of man hours just in maintaining your CACFP data. Plus, they might only have limited staff, so each staff member has to wear different hats during the day. Advance Child Care, Inc. is a national agency with staff in place that have expertise in different areas of CACFP policy and procedures. We learned long ago that a successful company is a company that doesn’t overload their staff.
Child and Adult Care Food Program in Texas | Call us at 903-872-5231 ext 302.