Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

Children Eating at a Daycare

What is the Child and Adult Care Food Program?


The CACFP provides reimbursement for healthy meals and snacks served to Colorado’s children and adults in:

  • Child Care Centers and Homes
  • Afterschool Programs
  • Emergency and Homeless Shelters
  • Head Start
  • Early Head Start
  • Outside-school-hours Programs
  • Adult Day Care Centers

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the CACFP and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment administers the program.


Child Care Centers

To learn more about how CACFP can benefit your child care center, visit the child care center information page.

Adult Day Care Centers

To learn more about how CACFP can benefit your adult day care center, visit the adult day care center information page.


Family Child Care Homes

To learn more about how CACFP can benefit your family child care home, visit the family child care home information page.


School Food Authorities

To learn more about how CACFP can benefit your school food authority, visit the school food authorities information page.

Emergency Shelters

To learn more about how CACFP can benefit your emergency shelter, visit the emergency shelter information page.

How to Apply


Step 1: Fill out the CACFP intake form. CACFP staff will review your intake form and contact you.

Step 2: You will receive an email with further instructions, including an attachment to our Colorado Nutrition Portal (CNP) user ID and password request form. After you have completed and returned the form, we will be able to create your CNP account and you will be able to begin working on your online application.

Step 3: Once the online application is complete, you will be assigned a nutrition consultant who will help with the remaining steps of the application process. This includes a two-week trial period of records and a pre-approval visit to your site.

Please Note

The CACFP application process generally takes several months to complete from the initial application date to signing contracts. Applicants have 90 days from the date the online application is opened to complete it. In some cases, exceptions may be approved by the CACFP Director, but we recommend applicants to complete within the 90-day timeframe. It is important to meet all deadlines throughout the application process considering this helps us to determine your capability to operate the CACFP. The application may not be approved if the deadlines are not met.

The CACFP accepts applications throughout the year, except for the month of September, when existing CACFP institutions renew their applications.

Public Notice


According to USDA Policy Bulletin SP 15-2018, CACFP 12-2018, SFSP 05-2018, State Agencies must submit requests to waive Child Nutrition Program requirements to their Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) regional office.

CACFP Participation in Colorado


The CACFP Participation Dashboard

The CACFP staff has committed to increasing program awareness and access through various activities and partnerships. The CACFP has hired two remote staff to expand staff representing lived experiences outside the Denver Metro area. 

The team also has key partnerships, which include: 

  • The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) Preschool Development Grant
  • The Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger
  • The Colorado Department of Education School Nutrition Unit

Access the CACFP Participation Dashboard.


Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger

The Colorado CACFP team, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger, developed a story map. The story map illustrates current participation in the Summer Food Service Program and CACFP, and brings to light areas of opportunity to increase access and participation in these vital programs.

This map can be used to inform strategic outreach efforts to increase access to and participation in these youth feeding programs. Program sponsors and partners can also use this map to identify community assets and areas of opportunity for program expansion. Use the link below to view the story map.

View the Story Map