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CACFP Tips and Tricks

In honor of National Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) week this month, we put together the following tips for operating CACFP.

A large part of operating a successful Child and Adult Care Food Program is having a well thought out operational and financial plan beforehand.

Operations Plan:

  1. Determine who will be the point person on all things food service, and take the role of the food service manager. This person will need to coordinate the daily meal deliveries and manage the serving and counting of meals.

  2. Set up a paperwork system that will allow for organization of the daily meal delivery records, temperature logs and meal counts.

  3. Create an accurate meal tracking method for the end of month reimbursement claim. If you have more than one site, you need to be able to consolidate the meals across all sites to submit your claim. If you are a for-profit agency, you must track meals by eligibility status.

  4. Be sure you have the proper checks and balances in place and you are conducting a monthly review of all data, prior to submitting a reimbursement claim.

  5. Check with your state agency to ensure you have conducted the compliant procurement process prior to engaging with a meal vendor.

  6. Review the meal vendor’s menus and documentation to ensure they are sending compliant, reimbursable meals. Ask to see templates, nutrition documents and proof they have participated in the CACFP program in the past.

  7. Visit all participating sites prior to starting meal service to ensure they have all required signage, permits and systems in place to run a successful program.

  8. Create a monitoring and training plan for all sites and staff, and consistently check all programs and procedures throughout the length of your program to ensure compliance.

Financial Plan

  1. Create a projected budget prior to starting the program, so you have an idea of the total revenue and expenses you are expecting.

  2. Conduct a procurement process and reach out to 3-5 viable vendors in your area, to obtain the best pricing possible. Be sure to include all pertinent information when you create your Request for Proposal – equipment needs, facility data, number of meals, frequency of deliveries, etc.

  3. Update your budget each month with your actuals – meal reimbursement, food, labor and supplies cost, etc. – so you can ensure you are staying on target with your original budget projection, and make adjustments if needed.

  4. Work with your vendor to adjust meal orders on a daily and weekly basis, especially in the beginning of the program as you track meal participation rates.

By having a plan and organization system in place, you are setting yourself up to have a smooth, efficient and compliant program. All CACFP programs are audited in year one, and every three years. These systems will be crucial when going through an audit, and help keep your time spent with auditors to a minimum.

If you need assistance with program training, operations or conducting the procurement process please reach out to us today!

If you need assistance with program training, operations or conducting the procurement process please reach out to us today!

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