High-quality child care and early education can build a strong foundation for young children's healthy development and ensure that children have all they need to thrive. This knowledge drives CLASP's work to promote policies that support both child development and the needs of low-income working parents. We support policies that expand resources for child care and early education initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels.  We also study the relationships between child care subsidy systems, Head Start and Early Head Start, state pre-kindergarten programs, and other birth to five early education efforts, to advance ideas that ensure these systems address the full range of needs of children and families. 

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Jul 23, 2015  |  PERMALINK »

Senate Bill Would Strengthen Important Child Nutrition Program

By Stephanie Schmit

Yesterday, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced a bill to make important changes for the health and well-being of vulnerable children in child care, and the adults who care for them.  The Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Act of 2015 would make significant improvements to the program that provides healthy, nutritious meals to more than 3 million children each day who are in Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care programs in both centers and family child care homes. CACFP plays a critical role in educating children, families, and child care providers about healthy nutrition and providing resources for at-risk children to eat healthy meals. In some states, the program also provides an important connection to home-based child care providers, including family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) caregivers, who may be isolated and have limited access to quality supports. CACFP, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service, reimburses caregivers for meals and snacks served to children in child care centers, preschools, family child care homes, after-school programs, and homeless shelters. The program includes regular visits to child care providers, as well as educational resources on healthy eating and good nutrition.

The Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Improvement Act would:

  • Reduce the CACFP area eligibility test from 50 percent to 40 percent eligible to streamline access to healthy meals for young children in child care;
  • Allow child care centers and homes the option of providing a third meal service (typically, supper or an afternoon snack) for children who are in care for eight or more hours daily;
  • Increase CACFP reimbursements by 10 cents per meal type per tier to reduce participation declines and improve nutrition; 
  • Increase the Administrative Reimbursement Rate for CACFP sponsoring organizations by $5 per family child care home per month and protect rates from negative cost-of-living adjustments to sustain participation of family child care providers;
  • Provide two-year implementation funds ($100 million) for State CACFP agencies, as well as $20 million for USDA, to successfully implement the program and sustain CACFP participation;
  • Continue funding for the ongoing five-year cycle of child care and CACFP nutrition and wellness study authorized in the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act; and,
  • Authorize the continuation of the congressionally mandated CACFP paperwork reduction initiative, which includes a focus on maximizing the effective use of technology.

CACFP is an important partner in the early childhood system and another example of how federal investments are making a difference in the lives of low-income families. The Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Act provides an opportunity to make much-needed improvements to increase access and strengthen the program’s role in supporting good health and nutrition for young children.

CCDBG Reauthorization

CLASP resources on the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 reauthorization and implementation. READ MORE »
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