The CACFP Strengthens the Child Care Infrastructure
November 8, 2023
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a Child Nutrition Program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides reimbursement to program operators for serving nutritious meals and snacks to children in child care centers, family child care homes, Head Start centers, emergency shelters, and afterschool programs as well as adults in day care.
Strengthens the Child Care Infrastructure
Child care is becoming increasingly unaffordable nation-wide as prices rise and access to child care decreases. Providers who operate on small margins are able to keep their doors open because of the financial reimbursement they receive through the CACFP. Providers in low-income areas are able to keep tuition costs low for working-families that rely on child care. All participating providers receive technical assistance and support for the CACFP. By participating in the CACFP, providers are able to make their business more financially stable, ensuring access to child care for those in their communities.
Supports Struggling Child Care Providers
One in every three child care providers experience food insecurity. A quarter of child care providers have had difficulty paying for basic necessities like food, healthcare, and utilities. Almost half of them also worry about being able to pay rent or mortgage.
While these providers struggle to make ends meet, they remain committed to serving meals to those in their care. The money received through the CACFP helps these hard-working providers increase their profits and invest more in their business.
Increases Competitiveness of Small Businesses
Not only does the CACFP decrease food costs for providers, but participation in the program also makes their business more competitive. Providers are able to market their business by informing families that the CACFP is an indicator of quality care and that their program will be the most beneficial to their child(ren). Parents are assured that their child(ren) will receive nutritious meals, based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, that support proper development. By marketing themselves as CACFP providers, small businesses are able to make their business more appealing to families in their area and increase enrollment – and therefore, profits.