Attention Child Care Centers:
You Might Be Eligible For The At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program!
The at-risk afterschool meals program has been in existence since the 1990s but only in some states. With the passage of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, afterschool programs in all states are eligible as long as they are located in a geographic area in which at least 50 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
The at-risk afterschool meals program isn’t strictly for afterschool programs – traditional child care centers that care for school-age children are also eligible to participate! The primary benefit to participating is that you can claim one meal and one snack for each school-age child at the highest reimbursement rate (A-Free) without needing to have a household income eligibility form on-file. In fact, the at-risk afterschool meals program doesn’t require enrollment forms either.
To determine how much funding you could get each month by participating in the at-risk afterschool meals program, multiply the number of afternoon snacks served to school-age children in a month by $0.94 and the number of suppers served to school-age children by $3.65. As an example, if you have a group of 30 school-age children and they eat a snack and supper each weekday, your reimbursement would be $2,754!
In order to participate in the at-risk afterschool meals program, you need to:
- Verify that your center is located in a geographic area with at least 50 percent of children qualifying for free or reduced-price meals. USDA has an eligibility map and often your state agency does as well.
- Contact your state agency to add the at-risk afterschool meals program to your sponsor agreement.
- Keep attendance and meal count records for your school-age program separate from your regular CACFP attendance and meal count records.
- Submit your claim for reimbursement for the at-risk afterschool meals program in addition to your typical claim for the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Sounds pretty straightforward. But here’s where it gets sticky:
- If you have school-age children that participate in your CACFP operations and the at-risk afterschool meals program, you need to make sure that you don’t exceed the overall claim limit of two meals and one snack or one meal and two snacks. In other words, the at-risk afterschool meals program records and regular CACFP records have to be separate, but you still need to compare them.
- The claim limit for the at-risk afterschool meals program is one meal and one snack or two snacks, which is less than the overall claim limit. This means that a child could participate in both the at-risk afterschool meals program and traditional CACFP program in the same center on the same day! For example, a child comes before school and eats a breakfast offered through the traditional CACFP meal program. The child then returns after school and eats an afternoon snack and supper offered through the at-risk afterschool meals program. That child’s breakfast needs to be claimed at the income eligibility category based on their household income eligibility form. That same child’s afternoon snack and supper can be claimed at the A-Free level.
All of this can get complicated and this is where software solutions can help. At My Food Program, we can accommodate traditional centers that also participate in the at-risk afterschool meals program in a seamless way. Each center marks the meals offered through the at-risk afterschool meals program and also flags each individual child that is eligible for the at-risk afterschool meals program. Attendance and meal counts for each program are kept separate while maintaining a simple, fool-proof interface for teachers to enter attendance and meal counts.
- The only time a teacher can enter attendance and meal counts for the at-risk afterschool meals program is if the center, meal and child are all eligible to participate. Otherwise, it will default to the regular CACFP meals program.
- During claims validation, we will automatically check that each child doesn’t exceed the at-risk afterschool claim limit and also check that that each child doesn’t exceed the overall claim limit. In addition, we will apply the logic for the appropriate income eligibility category (A-Free for at-risk afterschool meals and the household income eligibility category for CACFP meals).
- My Food Program will automatically optimize your claim by prioritizing meals and snacks for inclusion in the at-risk afterschool meals program.