Child Care License Effective Date as the Basis for Child and Adult Care Food Program Start Effective Date

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) assigns a provider start effective date once licensing information is received. Effective August 14, 2000, the start effective date will be the later* of:

1) The effective date of the child care license.

2) The date of the sponsor's documented preapproval visit to the site.

* The later of these two dates will not be assigned as the "start effective date" if, at the time the information is submitted, neither of the dates is within Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) 60-day claiming deadlines. In this case, the "start effective date" will be the first day of the earliest month that is still within claiming deadlines. For example, if the preapproval visit was 9-15-2012 and the license effective date was 10-1-2012, but the license was not received until 1-15-2013, the start effective date is 11-1-2012 because it is too late to submit a claim for October 2012.

Actions Required

There are no changes to the requirements for obtaining licensing information. To ensure the earliest possible FNS start effective date, the preapproval visit must be scheduled based on the earliest anticipated license effective date. The four-week visit should be scheduled within four weeks of the home's operating the program in anticipation of claiming reimbursement.

Licensing information that becomes available during the first 60 days of the federal fiscal year (before November 29), but has an effective date prior to October 1, will establish a period of eligibility in both federal fiscal years. In this case, the sponsor should submit one provider application for the current federal fiscal year and, if the provider had met all requirements before the beginning of the current federal fiscal year, also submit an application for the previous federal fiscal year.


CACFP regulations require FNS to confirm that a site is licensed before approving a start effective date for a provider's CACFP participation. Previously, U.S. Department of Agriculture policy required the start effective date to be no earlier than the date that FNS received the licensing information. Subject to all approval and claiming requirements being met, FNS now may assign a start effective date back to a license effective date that is prior to the date the information is received. ("FNS approval date" will continue to mean the date on which FNS has processed the information for a provider and assigned a start effective date.)

If you have any questions concerning this policy, contact FNS at 651-582-8526, 800-366-8922, or