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5 Meal Tracking Tips for Your Child Care

Boy with School LunchIf your child care, daycare or preschool participates in the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), you’re more than familiar with meal counts. You’ve got to track eligibility level (like free, reduced and above scale) as well as the age and date of birth of children. You’ll also want to keep up to date on reimbursement rates and requirements, such as correctly reporting meals claimed, which is not necessarily the same as meals served.

It can be a lot to keep track of, especially if you’re still recording meal counts by hand or on a basic spreadsheet.

With that in mind, here are 5 tips to help you track meals at your child care center. Continue reading

CACFP Classroom Meal Counts

Recently the following question about Meal Counts for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) arrived by email to ProCare Technical Support

“Why would one whole class of children not show up on Meal Count Reports when I have already processed meal counts for all classrooms at once?” 

This symptom is likely due to having created a new classroom without setting up the Meal Times for that class.   Continue reading

How to Keep Track of CACFP Forms at Your Child Care Center

When your child care center participates in the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) there certainly are benefits. For children, of course, it’s a great way to help ensure they receive regular, nutritious meals that meet specific guidelines. That is a wonderful thing! For center owners and directors, the other nice part is being reimbursed for each meal served. But there is one drawback. There tend to be a lot of CACFP forms to fill out each month. Ah, paperwork and record keeping. Just what you needed, right? Say no more. Procare Software can help.

child care meal tracking

How to Keep Track of CACFP Forms

Procare makes it easy for providers to manage all of their child care forms in one place, including those required for CACFP participation.

Child Meal Counts

One of the most intensive paper trails involves keeping track of what children were served which meals on each day. Luckily, this is an area in which Procare Meal Tracker Software excels. With the Batch Count Meals feature, meals can be counted in a few clicks of the mouse based on each child’s schedule, or on their actual clock in and out times (with Attendance Tracker). It’s important to remember that automated meal counts are intended to be used as a quick starting point. Manual adjustments can easily be made to count only the children who were actually served.

Free Meal Roll Call Sheets

There’s even a handy Meal Roll Call Sheet to record meals as they are served. With Procare, the name and classroom information are filled in automatically, but as a courtesy, we’re making blank forms available to any center that tracks meals served.

Download Free Meal Roll Call Sheets (.pdf format):

CACFP Forms

Since the Food Program is administered on a state-by-state basis, the forms that are required tend to vary. One state may require form XYZ, while another requires form 123. That’s why Procare reports are generic, giving you the information you need to fill in the forms required by your state. Some states allow alternate forms to be used instead of filling out their standard report. You’ll want to check with your local Food Program representative to be sure what they will accept.

Procare also includes an alternate form specifically for Texas, alternate 1535.

Eligibility Status

Having software to track who was served what and when is a real lifesaver, but you’ll also need information on the eligibility status of each family. Typically the status levels include Free, Reduced, and Paid (sometimes called Above Scale).  With Procare, you can print reports showing the number of meals served at each level and keep track of how many families fall into each eligibility category.

Reimbursement Rates

It’s also useful to get an idea of the amount you can expect to be reimbursed. After rates for each eligibility level are entered into Procare, a report can be run to show reimbursement amounts. What could be easier?

Print Menus & Production Records

Oh yes, and I almost forgot about menus. You’ll want to print menu forms to post on your bulletin board or hand out to parents. Perhaps you’ll even want to include menus in your weekly or monthly newsletter. No problem. We’ve got you covered there as well.

Final Thoughts

Keeping track of child care forms, especially those required by government organizations, is a big responsibility that can also consume much of a child care provider’s time. Procare simplifies this task, ensuring your center is always in compliance with state requirements and that your center runs efficiently.

If there’s anything else we can do to help make it easier to handle your CACFP forms and paperwork, just let us know.

Learn how Procare streamlines the process of tracking CACFP forms and other child care forms.

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