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  • What is the Afterschool Care Program?

    The hours after school are a critical time when children and youth are most at-risk of engaging in delinquent behavior. An Afterschool Care Program that serves snacks reimbursed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers children and youth constructive activities and something to eat. It draws them into supervised after-school programs that are safe, fun, and filled with learning opportunities. After-school snacks fill the gap between the lunch they receive at school and supper and help ensure children and youth receive the nutrition they need to learn, play, and grow.

 Who qualifies for participation in the program?

After-school snacks can be served to all school-age children who are 18 or under at the start of the school year. To be eligible to participate under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), your school district must operate the NSLP and sponsor or operate an eligible Afterschool Care Program. Also, your Afterschool Care Program must provide children with regularly scheduled activities in an organized, structured, and supervised environment and include educational or enrichment activities. There are no federal licensing requirements to participate in the NSLP’s Afterschool Care Program; however, Afterschool Care Programs are required to meet any State or local licensing requirements. If there are no State or local licensing requirements, programs must meet State or local health and safety requirements.​

 How are sponsors reimbursed for snacks?

If your Afterschool Care Program is "area eligible" (i.e., located in a school or in a school attendance area in which at least 50 percent of the enrolled children qualify for free or reduced-price meals), then all snacks will be reimbursed at the free rate, regardless of an individual student’s eligibility. If your Afterschool Care Program is not area eligible, snacks will be reimbursed at the free, reduced-price or paid rate depending on each individual child’s eligibility. Through the reimbursement you receive from USDA, you can free up dollars your Afterschool Care Program can use for other activities.​

 What are the snack nutrition requirements?

To be reimbursable, each snack must include at least two different food items of the following four: a serving of fluid milk; a serving of meat or meat alternate; a serving of vegetable(s) or fruit(s) or full strength vegetable or fruit juice; a serving of whole grain or enriched bread or cereal. Examples of a reimbursable snack may include pretzels and 100 percent juice, or an apple and a carton of milk.​

 What are the sponsor's responsibilities for administering the program?

You will need to keep a roster or sign-in sheet for participating children. Additionally, you must record and report the total number of snacks you serve each day by eligibility category (free, reduced-price, and paid) unless your program is area eligible. You must also document that the snacks you served met the USDA nutritional requirements for the program.​

 How can you apply to become a sponsor?

To apply to be a new sponsor in the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Special Milk, Illinois Free Breakfast and Lunch, and Food Distribution Program, click on the link below to obtain the forms you need to complete for the programs in which you choose to participate. New applications may be submitted at any time. Applications are valid from the date of approval through September 30 each year.

 Are there any additional application requirements?

Private Non-profit Entities: In addition to the above forms, private non-profit entities must submit a copy of the tax-exempt letter showing status under Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Private Residential Child Care Institutions: Private residential child care institutions must submit a license or a document indicating that a license is not required.​

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