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corn flakes with one-half cup sliced banana and three-quarters cup of whole milk (part on the cereal and part in a cup).

The meal components for CACFP were established when the program began in 1968 as the Special Food Service Program for Children. Changes to the regulations for CACFP governing the required meal components in the meal patterns were established by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193). The mandated changes included a reduction in the number of meals eligible to be claimed for reimbursement to a maximum of two meals and one snack or one meal and two snacks, regardless of the length of time a child was in attendance (see Table 2-3, “Reimbursement Options” column). The CACFP regulations only provide broad nutrient standards for meals or snacks. Useful benchmarks for assessing nutrient standards for CACFP meals and snacks were examined in the Early Childhood and Child Care Study carried out for USDA (USDA/FCS, 1997). These benchmarks came from the school-based programs (7 C.F.R., Parts 210 and 220), which currently call for breakfast to offer at least one-fourth of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) and for lunch to provide at least one-third of the RDA for these nutrients. Benchmarks for food energy from total fat, saturated fat, and carbohydrate, as well as the total amounts of cholesterol and sodium in the meals and snacks offered, were derived from recommendations in the 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (HHS/USDA, 1995) and the Diet and Health report (NRC, 1989) (USDA/FCS, 1997).

Meal Reimbursements

Eligible program providers receive reimbursement for meals and snacks served if the meals and foods meet the requirements specified in the regulations (USDA/FNS, 2010a,d,e). The CACFP reimbursement system does not provide partial credit for meals or snacks that meet most of the requirements; they must meet all requirements specified in the meal patterns (see Chapter 7).

Reimbursement Methods

Centers Reimbursement for center-based CACFP facilities is computed by claiming percentages, blended per meal rates, or actual meal count by type (breakfast, lunch, supper, or snack) and considering the eligibility category of participants (free, reduced-price, and paid), which is determined by participant family size and income. As stated above, participants from households with incomes at or below 130 percent of poverty are eligible for free meals. In centers, participants with household incomes between 130 and 185 percent of poverty are eligible for meals at a reduced price (USDA/



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