There’s no question that the pandemic has taken a big financial toll on child care operators, with many owners trying to bridge the gap by using their own savings, taking out a loan and/or cutting expenses wherever possible. To help, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is offering additional emergency funds to state agencies overseeing the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Called the CACFP Emergency Operational Cost Reimbursement Program, the funds are intended to help child care businesses recoup operating costs incurred during the pandemic.
How do states get the additional emergency funds to disburse to child care businesses?
States will need to opt in to the program by submitting an application and implementation plan to FNS.
How do I know if my child care business is eligible to receive these funds?
To be eligible to receive payments under the CACFP emergency program, centers need to have maintained their Child Nutrition Program participation by filing valid claims for any of the months between September and December 2020 or have provided assurance to their state agency that they will file a claim within the first 90 days after the end of the pandemic.
If my state applies for and receives this funding, how soon can my child care business expect to receive funds?
The goal is for states to begin disbursing funds to program operators by June 30, 2021.
What are payment calculations for the CACFP Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement Program based on?
- For sponsoring organizations of centers; independent child care centers, at-risk after school care centers, outside-school-hours care centers, emergency shelters, or adult day care centers; or day care homes: CACFP meal reimbursements
- Sponsoring organizations of day care homes: CACFP Administrative funds
How are payments to child care centers calculated?
The calculation of payment amounts for CACFP operators will fall into two categories: “new” operators (businesses that weren’t operating nutrition programs in March, April, May or June 2019) and all other operators. Click here for some calculation examples.
Are participating state agencies required to offer payments to all eligible child care operators?
Yes, state agencies must offer payments to all eligible program operators. While program operators can decline some or all funds, states are not allowed to withhold payments from an otherwise eligible program operator and must return the declined funds to FNS as unused.
What reporting will I be required to provide to my state agency if I receive this emergency funding?
State agencies will want program operators receiving funds to provide summary information on the planned and/or eventual use of funds. If you use a child care software solution that includes subsidy management, you can easily pull this together.
Is there any limit on the amount of funds available under the reimbursement program?
No. The resources are “such sums” funds, which means that whatever level of funding is needed to support the program, as well as the process of apportioning monies to state agencies, will be made available by FNS.
How do state agencies determine their disbursal method to program operators?
Each state agency will develop its own process for disbursing payments to eligible institutions.
Click here to read the full FAQ, which includes information on reimbursement calculations.
To learn more, visit the National CACFP Association’s website.