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Make USDA Snacks a Healthy Part of Your Afterschool Care Program!

Good nutrition is essential for effective learning every day, all year long, in school and afterschool. Here's how you can...

Combine Food and Activities After School

The hours after school are a critical time when children and youth are most at-risk of engaging in delinquent behavior. An afterschool care program that serves snacks reimbursed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers children and youth constructive activities and something to eat. It draws them into supervised afterschool care programs that are safe, fun and filled with learning opportunities. Afterschool snacks fill the gap between the lunch they receive at school and supper, and help children and youth receive the nutrition they need to learn, play and grow.

Program Requirements

To be eligible to participate, your afterschool care program must be located in a low-income area where 50 percent or more of the children are eligible for free and reduced price school meals. Additionally, you must offer educational or enrichment activities. There are no federal licensing requirements to participate in USDA afterschool snacks; however, afterschool care programs are required to meet any state or local licensing requirements. If there are no state or local requirements, programs must meet state or local health and safety requirements.

Cash Reimbursement from USDA

Your organization will be reimbursed at the highest level of reimbursement ("free rate") which is currently 78 cents a snack per child per day. through the reimbursement you receive from USDA, you can free up dollars that your afterschool care program can use for other activities.

Reimbursable Snacks

Afterschool snacks can be served to all children and youth through age 18 and must be offered at no charge. To be reimbursable, each snack must include at least two of the following four items: a serving of fluid milk; a serving of meat or meat alternate; a serving of vegetable(s) or fruit(s) or full strength vegetable or fruit juice; a serving of whole grain or enriched bread or cereal. Examples of a reimbursable snack include string cheese and 100 percent juice, or an apple and a carton of milk.

Your Responsibilities

You will need to keep a roster or sign-in sheet for participating children and youth. Additionally, you must record and report the total number of snacks served each day, and document that the snacks served met the USDA nutritional requirements for the Program. You must then submit the number of snacks you are claiming to the state agency, or your umbrella organization, on a regular basis in order to receive payment from USDA.

How the Program Works

USDA provides funds to state agencies—the State Department of Education in most states—which administer the Child and Adult Care Food Program (afterschool snacks) at the state level. State agencies are then responsible for distributing payments to afterschool care programs for snacks served.

To apply

Afterschool care programs that wish to participate in USDA afterschool snacks must apply through their state agency. Your state agency can answer additional questions you have regarding participating in USDA afterschool snacks.

That’s it. It’s simple. Make USDA snacks a healthy part of your afterschool program. Contact your state agency today!

Page updated: April 07, 2023