When it comes to properly documenting your food program and staying compliant with the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the devil is in the details. Without the right approach to managing the paperwork, an innocent miscalculation or an expired form can affect your monthly reimbursement and result in corrective actions during a state audit or review.

It’s important to protect your childcare business from simple mistakes that can cost you money. This article outlines easy steps that centers can take right now to prevent errors and prepare for a successful state audit when the time comes. 

Get Organized

Being organized benefits all areas of your business, especially if you’re short on time and helping hands. Organizing your food program hinges mainly on your paperwork. There’s a lot of it, so you need a system that will keep it orderly, up-to-date, and easy to search and find what you need.

One way to organize your food program paperwork is to use color-coded folders or binders. This video from a CACFP expert at the Maryland State Department of Education suggests separating your paperwork into five categories:

  1. Participant Eligibility – Includes your master eligibility list, enrollment forms, meal benefit applications, and collateral documentation. Keeping forms current is key to eliminating mistakes.
  2. Attendance and Point of Service/Meal Count Records – These records must be kept together and match. If you transcribe handwritten records to an Excel spreadsheet, for example, always keep your original handwritten records in case a mistake is made.
  3. Menus and Receipts – During an audit, daily dated menus will be compared with your receipts to prove you followed meal pattern requirements. It’s also good practice to scan or take pictures of receipts because the ink on receipts fades.
  4. Recipes and Food Labels – Document any recipes with more than one ingredient. Also include Child Nutrition labels and product formulation statements for prepared foods you buy, including cereal and yogurt to show sugar amounts and foods showing whole grain as an ingredient.
  5. Training Documentation – Proof of annual required CACFP training.

Create Processes and Procedures

And always, always follow them. Processes and procedures are necessary for keeping enrollment and eligibility forms current and correct. Be sure to create a process that entails a monthly review of all of your enrollment and eligibility forms, checking for missing information, like parent signatures, expired forms that need to be renewed, and misclassifications of a child’s eligibility.

Processes are also critical for accurately documenting attendance and meal counts at the point of service – and just about everything else involved with administering your food program. Plus, you should have a process for double-checking all your documentation and calculations. A second set of eyes can help. And in the case of an audit, checklists like this and this can come in handy.

Without standardized processes and procedures, mistakes can start to appear in your paperwork. No one is perfect after all, and an audit of your food program will bring that reality to life if you don’t take the right preventative measures.

Common Mistakes Uncovered in Audits

There are many types of paperwork and administration mistakes that can affect the results of your food program audit. Here are a few common ones that can be avoided:

  • Expired eligibility form, but the child was served a meal
  • The whole grain requirement wasn’t met, disallowing meals
  • A child was not counted as present for a meal
  • Missing and incomplete information on enrollment forms
  • Meal patterns not being followed
  • Improper use of CACFP funds, for example to buy gift cards, stamps, games, toys, and coffee
  • Inaccurate meal counts and transcription errors

In an audit, these mistakes can result in a serious deficiency finding, where you have to pay back money that you received based on incorrect reporting during the year. Can you afford to make mistakes?

Software Automatically Eliminates Costly Mistakes

Using pen and paper to document your food program has inherent drawbacks.

  • It’s very time consuming. The actual management of all your food program paperwork takes away valuable resources from your business.
  • If you lose paperwork, it could be marked as a serious deficiency during an audit and cost you money.
  • Virtual audits are becoming more common, requiring you to spend time and energy to scan all the necessary documents.

Software eliminates all the hassle of managing your food program paperwork, and most importantly, can minimize and even eliminate many of the common mistakes that are associated with handwritten documentation.

KidKare is the leading software solution for easily and successfully managing your food program. Thousands of childcare homes and centers enjoy the benefits of moving their food program online with KidKare.

The advantages of a software solution are especially helpful during an audit. With KidKare, CACFP compliancy is built in.

  • You automatically receive warnings when foods don’t meet the latest meal requirements.
  • You’re automatically notified when a child’s forms have expired or are close to expiration.
  • All your claims go through over 100 edit checks on food and attendance.
  • You can take attendance on the same screen as you document point-of-service meal counts. All with a simple tap of your finger.
  • The latest meal pattern requirements are automatically included to keep you compliant. 
  • You’re able to review and correct disallowed meals before you submit a claim.
  • You can easily track and document food service expenses.

KidKare also keeps all your records securely online for easy access anytime, anywhere. When you’re audited, everything you need is altogether in one place. The other advantage of online recordkeeping is that it’s protected from accidents and damage, unlike actual paperwork in a filing cabinet.

In addition, centers that use KidKare have access to detailed reports to better run their childcare business. All kinds of reports are available, including meals and attendance reports, meal planning reports, accounting reports, and tax reports.

To learn more about how KidKare can protect your childcare business during an audit and beyond, schedule a demo. It’s easy, just like KidKare!

Related Post


The secret behind great CACFP menus, according to our providers.

With the help of our providers, we've gathered a nice helping of advice and creative meal suggestions just for you.

Download our CACFP menus ebook!

Webinar Recordings

Getting Started, Rosters & Meal Counts





Claims Feature

Calculate Claims Button

Claims Errors

EOM Best Practices

Set Up Your Account

Install Minute Menu CX

Install Minute Menu CX

Follow the instructions below to download and install Minute Menu CX. You can install Minute Menu CX on as

many computers you need. The same link provided in this article can also be used by centers to install their

version of the software. For system requirements, see System Requirements.

1. Click here to download Minute Menu CX.

2. Depending on your browser settings, the file downloads automatically, or you are prompted to save or run it.

  • If it downloads automatically, open the file when it finishes downloading to begin the installation process.


  • If prompted, click Run. Depending on your browser, this option may be Open, or you may need to check the Run From Its Current Location box and click OK. Once the download finishes, you may be prompted to run it again.

3. The installation wizard opens. Click Next and follow the on-screen prompts to complete installation. We strongly recommend that you install Minute Menu CX in the default location and that you do not change any of the options during installation.

4. Once the installation process is complete, click Finish. Minute Menu CX opens automatically, and you are prompted for your password.

5. Enter your user name and password. You should have received this information from Minute Menu or (centers) from your food program sponsor’s main office.

6. Click Login.

To access Minute Menu CX in the future, double-click  on your desktop. You are prompted for login information each time, unless you check the Remember Login and Password box when logging in.

Check Your Currently Installed Software Version

To see which version of Minute Menu CX is installed on your machine:

1. Open Minute Menu CX.

2. Click the Help menu and select About Minute Menu CX. The About Minute Menu CX dialog box opens. The version number displays at the top.

Upgrade Minute Menu CX

To upgrade Minute Menu CX:

1. Open Minute Menu CX.

2. Click the Administration menu and select Upgrade Software. The installation wizard opens.

3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install the upgrade.  Note that you must upgrade CX on each individual machine on which it is installed.


Submit Claim Data to Sponsor


Substitute Milk & Child Milk Allergies

Milk Audit

Purchases and Write Offs

Milk Audit Reports


Adding Vendors

Quick Entry Receipt

Itemized Receipts

Record Attendance & Meal Counts

Daily Menu

Menu Production Records

Menu Templates

Grain Ounce Equivalents

Menu Calendar

Creating Infant Menus

Mark Infants as Fed

Record Attendance & Meal Counts

Meals & Attendance

Mark Infants as Fed

Detailed Meals & Attendance

Estimating Attendance

Enroll & Manage Children

Enroll a New Participant

Edit Child Information

Set Up Accounts

Site Details and Settings for Sponsored Centers

Creating Roles and Permissions

Creating Center Staff Logins

Staff Login


Infant Feeding Report

Milk Audit Report

Claim Manual Report


Adding Vendors

Quick Entry Receipt

Itemized Receipts


Substitute Milk and Child Milk Allergies

Milk Audit

Purchase & Write Offs


Welcome Letter to Sites

Enroll Sites

Add a Center

Plan & Record Menus​

Daily Menu

Menu Production Records

Menu Templates

Menu Calendar

Grain Ounce Equivalents

Creating Infant Menus

Record Attendance & Meal Counts

Basics Meal & Attendance

Detailed Meal & Attendance

Estimating Attendance

Enroll & Manage Children​

Enroll Participant

Edit Child Information

Set Up Your Site

KidKare introduction tour.

Staff login for the first time.

How to access your account

You can access your account by following the steps below:

1. Go to the KidKare website by clicking the link below https://app.kidkare.com/#/login/ 

2. Click on “I need a new Password” in the bottom right as shown in the image below.

3. Enter your email address into the email field and then click on “Send Me” 

  • Note: The email address will be the one the state has provided us. Please use the email address on record with your state. If you no longer have access to this email address please email success@kidkare.com 

 4. This should send an email to the email address entered from KidKare Enrollment Portal with a link to reset your password. Click on the blue link 

5. Enter your new password into the fields below and click “Go” 

6. Now you can go back to the login page and login with your email as the username and your new password! 

Discover KidKare

Be able to schedule your demo with our team by filling out the form.

Tax Tips in just a few clicks

Get access to our KidKare Accounting video tutorials by filling out the form.

Set Up Your Account

Update Sponsor Info

Record Attendance & Meal Counts

Record Attendance and Meal Counts

Estimate Attendance


SFSP Admin Reports (Non-menu)

SFSP Sponsor Menu Reports

Start your 30-day trial

KidKare Accounting is an all-in-one solution designed specifically for childcare providers, whether they participate in CACFP or not.

Start your free trial today by filling out the form below.

KidKare for Sites

Marking Meals & Attendance

Sponsor Attendance/Bulk Entry

Submit Claims to Sponsor

Menu Production Record

Satellite Form

SFSP Site Users and Permissions

KidKare for Admin Overview


Track Received Claims

Mark Centers Claim for Processing

Submit Claim to State

Advance Claim Month

State Claims List

Balance State Funds


Enter Receipts

Disbursement Journal & Status Report

Set Up Your Account

Create Master Menu

Copy & Paste Menus

Assign Menus to Locations

Setup Vendor with Menu Access

Set Up Your Account

Install Minute Menu CX
(Google Chrome)

Install Minute Menu CX

Manage Sponsor Information

Enroll Sites

Create Staff Logins

We want to know you!

We understand that navigating the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) can be confusing and stressful. That's why we created our KidKare Newsletter.

Get Help

Get Trained


Roster Upload Explanation


Roster Upload Explanation

KidKare For Sponsors

Our CACFP sponsor software ensures compliance and maximizes CACFP reimbursements for your Sponsor organization and participants (sites and providers).


Create and Manage Menu Templates

How to Build a Master Menu

Watch our KidKare Food Program Software Demo

Be able to watch our demo by filling out the form.

Buy Now KidKare Food Program for Your Center

Ideal for single-location childcare centers participating in CACFP that submit their claims directly to their state.

Start your 14-day trial

KidKare Food Program software is ideal for single-location childcare centers participating in CACFP that submit their claims directly to their state.


List Claims & Track Received Claims

Submitting or Retrieving Claims from Sites

Submit Claims to State


Review OER for Sponsors

Reports in CX


Vendors & Receipts



School Calendar

Tools Menu


Milk Audit

Observer & Monitoring​

Monitoring Reviews

Observer Mode

Manage Children

Activate Children

It’s quick and easy to get started

Just enter your email address below and we’ll set up a free 30 day trial just for you.

We believe in the application so much, that we know you’ll love it.