USDA Healthier CACFP Award

Recognizing Excellence in Nutrition and Physical Activity in Child Care

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What is it? 

The Healthier Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Award is a recognition system that supports the wellness efforts of child care centers and daycare home providers participating in CACFP. Child care centers and daycare home providers taking steps to improve the nutrition, physical activity, nutrition education and/or environment for children in their care can apply to win an award in one or more of these categories. Three award levels are offered: Honors, High Honors and Highest Honors. 

Why is it important?

With one in five children being overweight or obese by the age of 6, child care centers and daycare home providers play an essential role in the prevention of childhood obesity. Child caregivers have an opportunity to positively impact children’s healthy development by encouraging children to develop healthy habits at a young age.  

Am I eligible to apply?

Participation in the CACFP and compliance with CACFP regulations is required to be eligible for the award. Meeting the award criteria and winning an award does not replace CACFP requirements. Applicants are required to be in good standing with the CACFP, defined as having completed and implemented all corrective actions from the previous compliance review and having not been seriously deficient in the past two years, at the time of application.

How do I apply?

The program application includes criteria in four categories: Menus, Physical Activity, Nutrition Education, and Environment. Applicants can choose which category(ies) they would like to apply for and at which level, and then submit the application to Child Nutrition & Wellness at the Kansas State Department of Education. Applications must include submission of the requested support documentation as listed in the “Evaluation” columns in the application. Instructions should be read carefully in each category to determine which criteria need to be met to achieve the different award levels. It is highly recommended that applicants utilize the Healthier CACFP Award Resource Book, which explains “why” and “how to” for each criterion and provides guidance and tools to assist with implementing the criteria. 

Healthier CACFP Award Application

Healthier CACFP Award Resource Book

What recognition will I receive?

Each awardee will receive an official recognition letter and certificate of achievement from USDA. For more information on the criteria and/or for assistance with applying, contact the Child Nutrition & Wellness office at or (785) 296-2276.