Jordan Baker firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, December 6, 2022 — The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), AFSCME, Home Grown Child Care, National CACFP Association, National CACFP Forum, CCFP Roundtable, and more than 900 national, state, and local organizations signed a letter urging Congress to strengthen and expand the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) by adding an optional meal or snack for children in extended care. Congress must include this provision in any year-end package to reflect the program’s pressing needs.
The letter calls on Congress to strengthen CACFP benefits as families and child care providers continue to recover from the health and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most children are in care for a full day and often longer, requiring a full complement of meals and snacks to meet their nutrition needs. CACFP only reimburses for two meals and a snack; therefore, participating providers have to pay out of pocket for dinner or an afternoon snack provided to children in a full day of care. Those additional costs are too much for providers earning low wages and who may be food insecure themselves. 4.5 million babies and young children in child care centers, Head Start, and family child care programs every day. Participation in CACFP is a clear indicator of quality in these programs, providing essential nutrition guidance and significant program support for a sector that is underpaid and overworked. When Congress votes on its must-pass end of the year spending package during the lame-duck session, it is essential that child nutrition program priorities are included in that package. These investments will go a long way in supporting the financial viability of child care operations, and their ability to reach and feed more children daily. “Congress must ensure that children in preschool have improved access to nutritious meals. It’s been 12 years since Congress reauthorized the child nutrition programs, and we cannot let more years slip by before passing legislation to strengthen and improve these programs,” said Guardia. “Hungry children can’t wait.”Read the joint letter.CACFP offers reimbursements for meals and snacks, nutrition education, and ongoing support for family child care providers. The program, operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), plays an important role in supporting child care providers’ efforts to improve the quality of programs and maintain financial viability. Waivers issued by USDA, including extensions for area eligibility, and a temporary increase in CACFP rates, have been lifelines for the program and providers during the pandemic, but these flexibilities are only temporary. “Permanent solutions and improvements to CACFP are essential to supporting children’s healthy development, learning, and school readiness,” said Luis Guardia, president of FRAC. “Congress must do everything in its power to support child care providers’ ability to provide children with the nutrition they need for their learning and development. An additional meal or snack to young children in extended child care will deliver that essential nutrition, while also providing low-income parents with the support they need while at work.” CACFP feeds
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