Frequently Asked Questions

Starting with AO

How do I get started?

Contact Alpha & Omega Nutrition Program at 901-360-1000 and request a participation requirement check list. After reviewing the list provided and meeting all requirements, call to schedule a 2-3 hour orientation to meet with the food program staff. We serve licensed and unregulated family child care homes, child care centers, adult daycare centers and at-risk after school care programs. As a licensed or unregulated child & adult care provider, the program provides you with financial reimbursement for serving nutritious USDA approved meals and snacks to children & adults in your care. In order to join the Food Program, contact us by phone at 901-360-1000 or 901-220-4687, by email or visit our website at to arrange for an orientation. You'll be up and running in no time!

How does participation in the CACFP benefit a provider?

Providers receive valuable nutrition education that helps them know the proper foods to feed children in amounts appropriate for these young age groups. They receive help through nutrition education and personal visits from CACFP staff in understanding how to encourage positive eating habits that will benefit a child throughout life.

What children can be claimed on the food program?

All children in daycare centers from birth through age 12 can be claimed. Children of migrant parents can participate up to age 15. Children up to age 18 can be claimed in after chool care programs. You will need to send an enrollment form, signed by the parent, to your sponsor for each child in your care. You may claim your own children for meals at which other non-resident children that are enrolled in the Food Program are present, and if you qualify by your income level. Foster children may also be claimed for meals at which other non-resident children are claimed.

How much paperwork is involved and how often?

Each day you will need to make a record of attendance, menus and meal counts by midnight. This may sound like a daunting task, however it takes very little time. Current providers in the program state that recording menus and meal counts daily takes approximately five to ten minutes! Your monitor will provide you with online and mobile access to input claim information and how to enroll and submit the claims monthly to your sponsor.

What happens if I'm not in compliance when a representative visits?

Monitors check several things when they conduct a home visit. Many times, they will provide additional technical assistance to make sure you know exactly what you are required to do to be in compliance. If you have repeated difficulty keeping daily records, an improvement plan will be started. If you are over capacity or if there is a health or safety issue, your representative will complete a report and provide a corrective action plan. The report will be available for review by your sponsor. Follow-up will be conducted for compliance verification.

Do I have to offer an iron fortified infant formula?

Yes, providers are required to supply an IFIF to infants enrolled in your care. If the parent refuses the brand of IFIF you offer, the infant may still be enrolled in the Food Program as long as you are willing to supply one component of the infant's meal when they are developmentally ready to eat solid foods.

What if a parent refuses to enroll their child?

Parents may choose not to enroll their child on the Food Program, and will need to send a written statement to a sponsor to say they will not participate. You will not be reimbursed for meals you serve that child.

When do I have to obtain a diet statement?

Any time a child is not able to follow the meal pattern requirements, a doctor's statement must be on file in order for the child to be claimed on the Food Program. If the child's inability to follow the meal pattern is based on a disability, you must provide the alternate food the child requires.

Where can I find menus, recipes and other resources?

Your CACFP sponsor has many ideas that you can use when serving children, such as a Toddler Menu Choices Sample. Recipes are available from many online sources, but keep in mind that simple foods with few ingredients are often the healthiest option.

What should be in my first-aid kit?

Every child care setting should have a first aid kit stocked with items on the list below. You can buy the supplies for the first aid kit at drug stores or medical supply stores. Each first aid kit should be large enough to hold all the necessary supplies for first aid in the child care setting. Use a container that will close tightly. It should be stored out of reach of children. You should arrange the contents so you can reach items easily without emptying the kit. You should be sure that the contents are wrapped tightly and are sanitary. You should restock the kit after each use. A first aid kit should contain the following items: 1. First aid cards* Commercial cold pack or plastic bag for ice cubes 2. Adhesive strip bandages (1/2", 3/4", 1" strips) Clean cloth 3. Gauze bandages (4"x4", nonstick, sterile) Soap 4. Rolled flexible or stretch gauze Small plastic cup 5. Bandage tape Sealed packages of cleansing wipes 6. Nonstick, sterile pads (different sizes) Syrup of ipecac (1-ounce bottle) 7. Triangular bandages 8. Small splints 9. Eye dressing or pad 10. Special items for children with specific health problems (such as bee sting kit or an inhaler for a child with asthma) 11. Scissors Emergency Telephone Guide 12. Tweezers 13. Safety pins 14. Emergency contact information (phone numbers of the children's parents) 15. Thermometer Change for pay phone 16. Flashlight with fresh batteries Pen or pencil and note pad 17. Disposable latex gloves 18. Three-ounce rubber bulb syringe (to rinse out eyes, wounds, etc.)

Who Benefits from the CACFP?

Eligible public or private nonprofit child care centers, outside-school-hours care centers, Head Start programs, and other institutions which are licensed or approved to provide day care services may participate in CACFP, independently or as sponsored centers. For profit centers must receive title XX funds for at least 25 percent of enrolled children or licensed capacity (whichever is less) or at least 25 percent of the children in care must be eligible for free and reduced price meals. Meals served to children are reimbursed at rates based upon a child's eligibility for free, reduced price, or paid meals. Alpha & Omega Nutrition Program determines if your center meets the 25% threshold monthly.

The Children benefit because they are recipients of nutritious meal daily. The parents benefit because their children receive free and well-balanced meals while they are at work. The childcare provider, benefits by receiving monthly reimbursement payments to help cover the cost of the meals and snacks purchased and served. It is a valuable community service to offer meals at no cost to the children in your care. This is also a marketing tools that can be used to recruit more children.

What is the CACFP for centers?

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded program. As a participant in the CACFP, childcare centers receive monthly reimbursement stipends for serving nutritious USDA approved meals and snacks to the children they serve daily. The goal of the CACFP is to make good nutrition available to children from birth through 18 years of age.

What must my center do to participate in the CACFP

To participate on the program you must operate a Tennessee licensed childcare center. You must serve meals and snacks that meet the nutritional guidelines established by the USDA and you must agree not to charge your childcare parents for the food you serve. Alpha & Omega Nutrition Program Incorporated will assume full responsibility for the administrative & financial liabilities of your food program operations. Alpha & Omega Nutrition program will provide governance that ensures your program will be operated in compliance with all local, state & state program guidelines.

When will I get paid and how much?

Reimbursements are disbursed once each month, providers are required to document daily, and submit your all food program records to Alpha & Omega Nutrition Program Inc. Our office will process your received records and reconcile meals and attendance with the meals served to determined eligible reimbursement payment based on the program requirements. Centers are reimbursed based on meal rates set by the USDA. The rate categorizes are “free”, “reduced”, and “paid” and are determined for each child based on guidelines set by the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) annually.

Do sponsors charge for participation?

No, sponsors do not charge for participating in the CACFP. We do assess a fee for daycare centers, which cover administrative service cost of administering the CACFP. This includes expenses like mileage to conduct site inspections, CACFP management software, payroll, center training, telephone, Internet, office lease, office supplies and postage and any other expenses.

What are the benefits of being sponsored?

As your sponsor, Alpha & Omega Nutrition Program, Inc. assumes full administrative and financial responsibility for your child care food program operations. The state of Tennessee requires participating centers to be bonded, submit to background checks, provide proof of financial viability (which includes up to three months of bank records), and create detailed management plans and budgets. As a Alpha & Omega Nutrition Program Inc. sponsored facility, you operate under the auspices of our organizations financial viability and management plan with no extra burden.

As your CACFP sponsor, Alpha & Omega Nutrition Program we stand between you and the state of Tennessee. When you are visited by the State, our goal is to support you through the process and assure that you are prepared to ace all requirements. Our quarterly monitoring reviews, annual training, monthly resources, and regular technical assistance are all in an effort to keep your center’s child care food program finding free. In fact, our sponsored centers that have been monitored by the state agency have not received findings for overpayments!