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At Risk Programs

A public or private nonprofit organization that is participating or is eligible to participate in the CACFP as a contracting entity or as a sponsored site and that provides nonresidential child care to children after school through an approved afterschool care program located in an eligible area. However, an Emergency shelter may participate as an at-risk afterschool care center without regard to location.

Emergency Shelter

A public or private nonprofit organization or its site that provides temporary shelter and food services to homeless children.

The at-risk afterschool care center subset of the Program is intended to:

  • Provide a safe place for school-aged children to go after school (those that wouldn’t otherwise have child care);

  • Incorporate educational and enriching activities;

  • Minimize the risk of those children becoming involved in counterproductive and potentially dangerous activities;

  • Provide an afterschool snack and/or supper meal as an additional benefit.

The maximum number of meals at-risk afterschool care centers may serve per child per day are as follows:


  • At-Risk Afterschool Care Center

  • One meal and one snack, or two snacks with prior approval from TDA

  • Traditional Child Care Center and At-Risk Afterschool Care Center*

  • Two meals and one snack, or

  • Two snacks and one meal

  • NSLP/SBP and At-Risk Afterschool Care Center

  • NSLP/SBP Breakfast, Lunch, afterschool snack and CACFP supper; or**

  • NSLP/SBP Breakfast and lunch and CACFP snack and supper.**

Eligibility Guidelines



     At-risk afterschool care centers (public institutions, nonprofit and for-profit organizations) must meet the following criteria:

  • Be licensed by federal, state, or local authorities to provide child care, or exempt from licensure (and has documentation of exemption when required);

  • If a nonprofit, have tax exemption under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

  • If a for-profit child care center, outside-school-hours care center, or at-risk afterschool care center, demonstrate that either one of the below conditions was true during the month preceding initial application or renewal:

    • 25% of the enrolled children or 25% of the licensed capacity (whichever is less) are eligible for free or reduced-price meals; or

    • 25% of the enrolled children or 25% of the licensed capacity (whichever is less) receive Title XX benefits and the center receives compensation from amounts granted to Texas under Title XX;

  • Operates an eligible after-school program. An eligible afterschool program is one that:

    • Is organized primarily to provide care for children after school or on weekends, holidays, or school vacations during the regular school year;

    • Provides children with regularly scheduled activities in an organized, structured, and supervised environment;

    • Includes educational or enrichment activities; examples include, but are not limited to:

      • Arts and crafts

      • Homework assistance

      • Life skills

      • Remedial education

      • Organized fitness activities

    • Is open to all children, and does not limit participation or membership on the basis of the child’s ability.

      • Programs designed to meet the special needs of enrolled children, such as programs for children with learning disabilities or children who are academically gifted may also be eligible to participate.

      • Organized athletic programs engaged in interscholastic or community-level competitive sports only are not eligible to participate in the at-risk afterschool care center component of the CACFP;

      • However, School Food Authorities (SFAs) that operate an approved afterschool program for other children may serve children that participate in school athletic programs.

  • Is located in an attendance area of a school in which 50 percent or more of the children enrolled are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. Free and reduced-price enrollment data from private or charter schools may not be used to determine area eligibility unless the afterschool program is actually located in the private or charter school.

    • Determinations of area eligibility are valid for five years and are not required to be re-determined annually unless TDA or the contracting entity obtains information indicating the at-risk afterschool care center is no longer area eligible.

      • Note: A list of schools in which at least 50% of the children enrolled are certified eligible for free or reduced-price meals is available at under CACFP Administration and Forms.


     Child care centers, whether for-profit or nonprofit (this includes independent centers and sponsored sites), that participate in the traditional child care center component of the CACFP and want to add the at-risk component must ensure:

  1. they meet the criteria for at-risk, including providing an eligible afterschool program that is separate and distinct from the ongoing child care provided by the center; and

  2. the at-risk program is available to any participant (not just those children enrolled for traditional child care). In this case:

    1. The enrolled school-age children attending the traditional child care center after their school day or on weekends, holidays, or school vacations that participate in the after-school program can be claimed for at-risk snacks/meals received; and

    2.  Children who are not school age and do not attend school would continue to participate in the traditional CACFP meals service and be served under traditional CACFP, even during afterschool hours.


            Additionally, a residential child care institution (RCCIs) may be eligible to participate in an at-risk if it has a separate non-residential care program and offers education and enrichment programs for non-residential children.


Eligibility Requirements for Emergency Shelter Participation in the At-risk Afterschool Care
Center component of the CACFP 

     To be eligible to participate, the emergency shelter must operate an afterschool program that has education or enrichment activities for homeless children and youth during the regular school year and must meet applicable state and local health and safety standards.


     Emergency shelters are exempt from meeting the area eligibility requirement.


     The emergency shelter may only provide meals to the homeless school-age children who attend the at-risk after-school program.


An organization, including a site, is ineligible to participate in the Program if:

  • A member of the organization’s governing body, an agent, a consultant, a volunteer, or an employee has been convicted of any activity that occurred during the seven years preceding application or renewal that indicates a lack of business integrity. A lack of business integrity includes fraud, antitrust violations, embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, receiving stolen property, making false claims, obstruction of justice, or any other activity indicating a lack of business integrity.

  • The organization, or a principal within the organization, is on the National Disqualified List (NDL), or the Texas Excluded SFSP List (TEXSL).

  • The organization’s, or any principal of the organization’s, participation in a publicly funded program was terminated for violating that program's requirements during the seven years preceding application or renewal, and eligibility to participate in that program has not been reinstated.

  • A publicly funded program is defined as any program or grant funded by federal, state or local government. An organization must submit documentation that demonstrates that the program noncompliance was corrected and that eligibility to participate in that program was reinstated, including repayment of any funds owed if applicable. The organization’s application will not be approved without this documentation.

  • The organization does not meet the eligibility requirements detailed above.

  • The organization does not meet any other criteria as determined by TDA.

At-risk afterschool care centers must submit all information and documentation to TDA by the 20th day of the month for the request to be effective for that same month. 

    If the information and/or documentation submitted by the at-risk afterschool care center is incorrect or incomplete, TDA will return the incomplete information and request incomplete documentation before approval.


     Submitting incomplete or incorrect information or documentation may result in the effective date being a month or months after the initial submission, so Strengthen Our Nation recommends requests are submitted as early in the month as possible to allow for corrections to be made during the same month.



  • Sites and site staff disqualified or excluded from participation in a Child Nutrition Program may not participate in the CACFP.

  • Sites that lose their license/certification may not be claimed or participate in the CACFP.


Prior to open enrollment, Strengthen Our Nation cannot and will not recruit nor enter into a Permanent Agreement Between Contracting Organization and Child Care Site for the next Program Year with sites that are currently participating or had participated with a sponsor in the CACFP in the current Program Year.


      At-risk afterschool care centers that can demonstrate good cause for transferring from a sponsor may, with prior approval from TDA, enter into a Permanent Agreement Between Contracting Organization and Child Care Site with another sponsor at any time during the Program Year.


If an at-risk afterschool care center wants to transfer to another sponsor, the site must:

Request in writing, and receive, prior approval for the transfer from TDA.

Email request to:


Demonstrate good cause for the transfer request.

Submit a letter to its current sponsor stating the intention to terminate its agreement and the effective date of termination.

 Strengthen Our Nation Child and Adult Care Food Program

     "Good cause" for transferring from the sponsorship of one sponsor to another during the Program Year is limited to the following conditions:

A sponsor denies a site access to the Program.

A sponsor reduces the level of benefit a site receives under the Program, for example, the sponsor: 

Will not allow sites to claim suppers or weekend meals because the sponsor does not want to monitor those meal services.

Requests and receives approval to withhold more than 15% of the meal reimbursement annually for allowable administrative costs thereby reducing the reimbursement received by the site.

Any other good cause as determined by TDA.


***It is the at-risk afterschool care center's responsibility to demonstrate that such conditions exist.***


Example of a Good Cause Transfer:

A site moved to an area where the current sponsor does not provide service.


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