Funding Opportunities

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Healthy Food Program

Healthy foods are not out of reach when you are a part of the Healthy Food Program. Through the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) the Healthy Food Program supports home-based Family Child Care Providers in stretching food dollars while serving nutritious foods to the children in their care. A healthy meal is a start toward a bright future!

The Healthy Food Program’s friendly staff will provide you with all the training materials, nutritional education, sample menus and easy recipe ideas needed to be successful. You choose a list of acceptable fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, cereals, rice, pasta and other grains—and prepare them as you wish. Then the food program will reimburse you for much of your food cost.

By participating in Illinois Action for Children’s Healthy Food Program, you will receive monthly reimbursement payments for serving healthy meals and snacks to the children in your care. The Healthy Food Program is a federal program, much like the School Lunch Program, and does not cost you any money.

Eligibility

Eligible home care providers include:

  • Providers licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
  • License-exempt providers receiving Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) funds from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)

Child care must take place in the provider’s own home. At least one child in your care must live outside of your own home.

Responsibility

The main responsibilities of participating child care providers include the following:

  1. Providers are responsible for serving meals and snacks that meet USDA requirements. Healthy Food Program staff will familiarize you with these requirements and help you get started.
  2. Providers need to keep daily records of which children are present for which meals, and what foods are served at each meal. This information is submitted on a monthly basis to Illinois Action for Children in order to claim reimbursement.
  3. Providers will receive support visits at their homes from the Healthy Food Program’s Nutrition Advocates at least 3 times per year to review program requirements, provide additional training, and help with any issues or questions that arise.

Reimbursement

Providers are reimbursed for each meal/snack served per child. The amount received will depend on 1) the reimbursement level for which a provider is eligible (there are two levels of reimbursement called tiers), 2) the number of children the provider cares for, and 3) the number and type of meals a provider serves throughout the month.

FY 21 reimbursement rates effective July 1, 2020 thru June 30, 2021

Breakfast Lunch/Supper Snack
Tier 1 $1.39 $2.61 $0.78
Tier 2 $0.50 $1.58 $0.21

A maximum of 2 meals and 1 snack, or 2 snacks and 1 meal can be claimed for each child each day. Reimbursement example: A provider that is eligible for Tier I reimbursement rates who serves the children in her care lunch, dinner and a snack would be reimbursed over $5.00 per child per day. If she/he cares for 3 children, 21 days a month, the provider would likely receive over $300.00 for that month to help cover the cost of serving nutritious meals to the children. (Remember this is just an example. Rates change yearly. Each situation will be different.)

Enrollment

If you are a home child care provider who is interested in providing the best possible foods for the children in your care, please contact Illinois Action for Children’s Healthy Food Program today.

Healthy Food Program
773.564.8861
healthyfood@actforchildren.org