Child and Adult Care Food Program

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Child and Adult Care Food Program


​The Child and Adult care Food Program (CACFP) provides millions of meals and snacks to children in day care, residing in emergency shelters, and participating in afterschool programs, as well as participants in adult day care programs. ​​

On Jan. 9, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a proposed rule with new science-based nutritional standards for meals provided through CACFP. The proposed meal patterns will help ensure that the more than 3 million children who receive meals through CACFP each day have access to healthy, balanced meals. This update to the food pattern, the first since 1968, proposes a greater variety of vegetables and fruits, as well as more whole grains and less sugar and fat. The rule includes provisions that support and promote breastfeeding and improve access to healthy beverages, including water and low-fat and fat-free milk. These changes are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, scientific recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, and stakeholder input.

The AAP has submitted comments on the proposed rule, and will be working with members of Congress to strengthen the CACFP program during child nutrition reauthorization.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) has recently introduced the AAP-supported Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Act of 2015 (S. 1833). The bill aims to expand and strengthen the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), a program that serves more than 3.3 million children by providing cash assistance to states to assist child care institutions and family or group day care homes in providing nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, health, growth, and development of children.  Currently, children in daycare programs can access food assistance when 50 percent of their neighborhood is eligible for free or reduced price lunch at school.  Sen. Casey's bill would reduce the CACFP area eligibility to 40 percent in order to streamline access and expand eligibility to include more low-income children.  The legislation would also give child care centers the option of serving a reimbursable third meal to children who are there for eight or more hours, and increase the reimbursement rate for CACFP meals. 

  • Proposed CACFP meal pattern
  • USDA's CACFP website
  • AAP's CACFP comments
  • Letter to Sen. Bob Casey from AAP President Sandra Hassink endorsing the Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Act of 2015.
  • S. 1833, Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Act
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