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Water Availability

August 5, 2016



FNS passed the final rule Child and Adult Care Food Program: Meal Pattern Revisions Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to update the meal pattern regarding water availability in daycare centers and homes. Previously, centers and homes must have water available to children throughout the day. This rule expanded that provision to include offering water to children throughout the day.

Childcare centers and homes are not required to provide a water self-service station but must ask the children throughout the day if they would like some water. For especially young children that CACFP often serves, visual cues may be necessary. Remember, water must be made available at mealtimes, but it is not reimbursable and should not be used in place of fluid milk.

Why It Matters

Adequate water intake is important to the health of all children. This rule makes hydration easier to achieve and ultimately makes our children healthier. It also has the possibility of cutting down on sugared beverages if water is offered after physical activities, hot summer days, and cold winter days when the air is drier.

For more information, check out Water Availability in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP 20-2016).