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Emily Pickren

Statement attributed to Jim Weill, president, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC).

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2018 — Since the late 1960s, children have received meals and snacks in all kinds of child care settings through the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Congress created CACFP — which provides meals to over 4 million children every day — on May 8, 1968, 50 years ago today.

CACFP provides funding for meals and snacks that meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutritional standards to children in child care centers, home day care, and Head Start programs; youth participating in afterschool programs; and children living in homeless and domestic violence shelters. The program also provides meals to older adults and adults with disabilities in participating facilities.

CACFP contributes to children’s healthy growth and development, and encourages the development of good nutrition habits early in life. The program also plays an important role in improving the quality and sustainability of child care programs and making them more affordable for low-income parents.

At the outset, in 1969, CACFP served meals and snacks to 23,000 children each day. In 2017, CACFP provided meals and snacks to 4.4 million children and 131,000 adults each day. Over the last 20 years, the number of child care centers participating in CACFP has more than doubled, going from over 34,000 in 1997 to nearly 64,000 in 2017.

On the 50th anniversary of this vital program, FRAC celebrates the commitment and hard work of all those involved in making CACFP a success and greatly expanding its reach. FRAC will continue to work with national, state, and local policymakers, providers, and other partners to make an excellent program even better by strengthening CACFP’s role in reducing food insecurity and promoting improved nutrition, health, and development among the nation’s youngest and oldest populations.


The Food Research & Action Center is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States.