Accessible Version
Official Seal of the California Department of Education

CDE Application

July 1–December 31, 2021
COVID-19 Child and Adult Care Food Program
Meal Pattern Waiver

Nutrition Services Division

On April 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued COVID–19 Child Nutrition Response #91: Nationwide Waiver to Allow Specific Meal Pattern Flexibility in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for School Year 2021–22. This allows CACFP Operators to request waivers for
only three CACFP meal pattern requirements.

The CACFP meal pattern waiver request options effective
July 1, 2021 are:
  1. That at least one serving per day, across all eating occasions, must be whole grain-rich (WGR)

  2. That the crediting of grains by ounce equivalents (oz eq) must be fully implemented by October 1, 2021

  3. That low-fat (1 percent) milk must be unflavored
Note: The California Healthy Beverages in Child Care Act does not allow flavored milk to be served to children in licensed centers and homes. Therefore, the flexibility to waive the requirement that low-fat (1 percent) milk must be unflavored only applies to milk served to:
  • Adults in adult day care centers;
  • Children 6 years and older in unlicensed centers; and,
  • Participants ages 18 through 24 in emergency shelters (meals are only reimbursable to this age group until the date the COVID–19 health emergency is lifted)
After applying, the CACFP Operator may be contacted to provide further details about the use of this waiver, in addition to the details requested in this application.

Note: Due to the transition of CACFP staff from the California Department of Education (CDE) to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), this application is available on the CDE website; however, CDSS staff will oversee the CACFP Meal Pattern Waiver (MPW) Applications and will contact CACFP Operators with approval emails and any additional correspondence.

By submitting this CACFP Meal Pattern Waiver (MPW) Application for one or more of the specified meal pattern requirements listed above, the CACFP Operator who is completing this CACFP MPW Application is acknowledging that they understand that they must receive an approval email from the CDSS before using any of the flexibilities requested in this CACFP MPW Application.

If approved, you will receive an email from with the Subject line, Approval of CACFP MPW Application, within two business days after submission. This email provides approval to waive only the meal pattern requirement(s) requested in the CACFP MPW Application and provides guidance on the use of the waiver(s).

CACFP Operators who do not receive this email after two business days should contact the CDE MPW Team at

CACFP Operators who implement meal pattern flexibilities without approval, may be subject to administrative action and meal disallowance if the CACFP meal pattern requirements are not met.
Effective Dates:

This CACFP MPW Application is only valid from the date of approval through December 31, 2021.

CACFP Operators who need to continue to waive the specified meal pattern requirements allowed in USDA
COVID-19 Response #91 after December 31, 2021, must resubmit a CACFP MPW Application for the extended timeframe (e.g., January 1–March 31, 2022) and receive an approval email from the CDSS before using the flexibilities requested in the new CACFP MPW Application.
Additional Information:

Additional CACFP MPW information is available in the Meal Patterns Flexibility section in the CACFP tab of the CDE COVID-19 Guidance for Child Nutrition Program Operators web page.

CACFP Operators are required to answer all questions in this application. The application will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. For assistance with completing this application, please contact the CDSS MPW Team by email at

Agency Information

 Please provide one or both of the following identification numbers to submit this application:    
 Please provide the required agency identification information below:
 Vendor Number may include 5 digits and a letter 'Z' at the end (example 12345Z) OR 4 digits with a letter 'C' or 'A' at the beginning and a letter 'Z' at the end (example A1234Z or C1234Z)
 If not listed, enter your agency's business name below: