vegetables 1085063 1920SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) and the Illinois State Board of Education announced Wednesday that funding is available for the Child and Adult Care Food Program for Fiscal Year 2021. The program helps child care centers, Head Start programs, before- and after-school, emergency shelters and day care home providers by providing funding to offer healthy meals to children.

“Our children’s wellbeing continues to be a priority as we continue to face the current pandemic,” Lightford said. “This program will continue to provide thousands of children with healthy meals that may not be available at home.”

The continuing COVID-19 pandemic has caused even more families to depend on federally funded nutrition programs. More than 1,000 child care centers across Illinois will be able to provide children with healthy meals.

Individuals in households who participate in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are automatically eligible to receive free meal benefits. The USDA Household Income Eligibility Guidelines determine eligibility to receive free meal benefits for families that do not receive TANF or SNAP benefits.

If a household’s income falls within or below the listed guidelines, a member of the household should contact their child care center or day care home provider to learn about benefits of the CACFP. They may be required to complete an application and provide income, TANF or SNAP information.

Children enrolled in Head Start or Early Head Start programs at approved Head Start facilities and foster care children who are legal responsibilities of the state or court also receive free meal benefits. Parents or guardians should contact their child care center or day care home provider to find out if they participate in CACFP.

Income Eligibility Guidelines


Child care institutions can learn more and apply for the program here:

Family day care homes can learn more here:

Those interested in the adult care portion of the program can visit:


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