Child and Adult Care Food Program

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides nutritionally balanced meals that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and people with chronic disabilities.

For infants and young children, CACFP meals provide access to a variety of nutritious foods through balanced meals which contribute to the development of lifelong healthy eating patterns.  

CACFP meals incorporate healthy foods that are under-consumed by most people in America, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, while limiting exposure to added sugar, which is over-consumed. 

Nutritious meals, like the CACFP meals at adult day care centers, are an important way to optimize health and quality of life for older adults and adults with disabilities.

Which sites participate?

The nutritious CACFP meals and snacks are served to children, including infants, enrolled at participating childcare centers, daycare homes, afterschool care programs, and children in emergency shelters. The program also serves adults over 60 or living with a disability and enrolled in daycare facilities. Over 300 agencies across the state participate in the CAFCP.

How does it work?

The CACFP reimburses child and adult care agencies with federally-funded dollars for meals and snacks that comply with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition standards and meal patterns. CACFP sponsors receive cash-in-lieu of USDA Foods with their CACFP meal reimbursements.

Learn more about the CACFP:

Training, Family Child Care, Emergency Shelters


  • Access training videos and resources developed by MSDE OSCNP related to the CACFP meal pattern and creating a positive mealtime environment
  • USDA CACFP Training Tools related to meal pattern, meal service requirements, criteria for allowable foods, and more
  • The Institute of Child Nutrition provides online courses, webinars, and hosts the Child Nutrition Recipe box for CACFP-compliant menu options

Family Child Care

Family Child Care Providers in Maryland participate in the CACFP through specific sponsoring organizations, listed below. The sponsors provide Family Child Care providers with CACFP training and technical assistance, and monitor compliance with CACFP regulations. Family Child Care Providers interested in participating should contact a sponsoring agency listed below to get started.

Family Child Care Sponsor Agencies (as of April 2023): 

Cecil County
Name: Christina Shirley 
Phone: 410-996-0253

Family League of Baltimore City
Name: Sharon Bostwick  
Phone: 443-423-0914 

Frederick Community Action Agency 
Name: Sarah McAleavy 
Phone: 301-600-6263 

Montgomery County Public Schools 
Name: Mariann Rutherford           
Phone: 240-740-73956

The Planning Council 
Name: Lisa Lyons  
Phone: 410-967-5848  

Prince George’s County Public Schools 
Phone: 301-817-0535 ext. 41393 

Emergency Shelters

Emergency shelters serve a critical role in supporting children and families during times of need. Shelters receive the most meal benefits for children, at the highest rates of reimbursement, with the least amount of paperwork than any other type of facility in CACFP.

CACFP helps enhance the meal services the shelter provides to children and youths who are residents. It gives the shelter a steady stream of Federal money for nutritious meals that meet USDA requirements. The reimbursement allows the shelter to devote a smaller portion of resources to food-related expenses, freeing up resources that can be used for other activities. 

Children 18 years and younger who receive their meals at an emergency shelter are automatically eligible for free meals. There are no application forms for families to fill out. 

Visit the USDA website for more information about meals in emergency shelters