Accessible Version
Official Seal of the California Department of Education

CDE Application

July 1, 2021–June 30, 2022
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 (MPW) 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)
The USDA requires that meal pattern flexibilities only be used to the extent needed. As a result, this waiver is categorized as a “Limited Use Waiver.” Once approved, the flexibilities are valid through June 30, 2022 but should be used on an as-needed basis only. 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 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 the flexibilities are to be used on an as-needed basis.

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 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 CDSS CACFP MPW Team at
Effective Dates:

Flexibilities are available beginning July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.

To request additional meal pattern requirement flexibilities allowed under this waiver, submit another CACFP MPW Application.
Additional Information:

Additional CACFP MPW information is available in the Meal Pattern Flexibilities 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 CACFP 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: