What are the Child Care Food Programs?

The Child Care Food Programs are child nutrition programs funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The objective of the programs is to provide reimbursement for meals and snacks served to children in child care settings. The end goal is to provide access to food and a healthful diet to children in need, as well as promote a healthy lifestyle through smart food choices.

Can you Participate?

Various public or private nonprofit child care centers, Head-Start programs, outside-school-hours care locations, and other institutions that are approved to provide child care services can participate. Other for-profit centers that serve low-income children may also be eligible for the program.

Requirements for Family Child Care Homes:

  • Licensed by the state of Florida and have at least one unrelated child in your care.
  • Serve consistent meals that meet USDA guidelines.
  • Keep accurate records and submit them monthly to Child Care of Southwest Florida

Requirements for Child Care Centers:

  • Be licensed by the appropriate child care licensing authority or be legally exempt from such licensure. 
  • Be classified as a public of private nonprofit organization
  • For-profit organizations that wish to participate must have an enrollment capacity of at least 25% low-income children who meet specific criteria.
  • Child care centers or outside-school-hours care locations can participate in the program with a sponsor or as an independent center.
  • Family day care home providers who participate must be licensed and affiliated with a sponsoring organization.

Child Care of Southwest Florida Can Help

We know how important diet and healthy choices are. They have a direct impact on a child's mind and ability to learn. That's why we've become a sponsoring organization and we're here to help you get your Child Care Food Program set up. One of our experts can help you fill out your application, get the program started at your location, answer any questions you may have, and provide you with sample menus and menu planning. We'll make sure you meet the USDA nutritional guidelines. Our Food Program specialists will explain record keeping and supply you with all the needed forms. Each month after the appropriate paperwork is submitted, a reimbursement check will be mailed directly to you or deposited in your bank account. We also have bilingual specialists available if you need them.

How you can Participate

Food is an essential element of life and no child should go hungry. Children also deserve to be taught how to make their own healthy food choices starting at a young age so that they can continue on a path to healthy eating their entire lives. Additionally through this program, you will learn proper training in nutrition, food safety, and sanitation, which can be passed on to the children in your care. Participating in this program will provide piece of mind to the parents of the children in your care, as they will know their children are receiving the proper nutrition. Lastly, the food costs of your center will be reduced by participating in this program.

The following counties in Florida are served by USDA Child Care Food Programs:

  • Brevard
  • Broward
  • Charlotte
  • Collier
  • De Soto
  • Glades
  • Hardee
  • Hendry
  • Highlands
  • Hillsborough
  • Indian River
  • Lee
  • Manatee
  • Martin
  • Miami-Dade
  • Okeechobee
  • Orange
  • Palm Beach
  • Pinellas
  • Polk
  • Sarasota
  • St Lucie