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Sponsor Spotlight: Laura McCabe of KidCare Nutrition Sponsor

Sponsor of Family Child Care Homes

February 19, 2024

Laura McCabe is the Director of KidCare Nutrition Sponsor in Greeley, Colorado. KidCare is a sponsoring organization (sponsor) of family child care homes, serving about 115 home providers and reaching over 900 children in northeastern Colorado. 

With a degree in early education, Laura started her career as an elementary school teacher. After having her first child she decided to shift from being a teacher to starting her own family child care home. During her 15 years as a family child care provider, Laura served as the President of her local child care association and served on the board of KidCare. When the former Director of KidCare decided to retire, she was going to have to shut down the sponsorship without someone to take her place. Laura stepped up to the challenge and has been the Director of KidCare for 18 years. 

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When Laura was a family home child care provider, she thought the nutrition education and visits from her sponsoring organization were so important. She also believes the CACFP is beneficial to the providers KidCare serves because they can expect reimbursement to help with their grocery bills, they can keep prices low for parents, and they can serve quality food. The nutritious meals they serve helps to combat behavioral issues and facilitate learning for the kids in their care, and parents appreciate it. 

Laura’s background as a family child care home participating in the program gives her great insight into how to work with the providers she now sponsors. She thinks KidCare is a successful sponsor because of the great relationships they build with their providers. They take an interest in what the providers are doing in their child care – do they like to garden or do they want to start serving vegetarian meals – and provide resources to help them. KidCare also recognizes that child care providers are first and foremost child care providers and the CACFP is just a small aspect of their job. 

We do things that let them know we appreciate them and that we’re here as a resource. We always think that we’re this great big program and everybody should be focused on us, but we’re just a little tiny part of their day. So, we try to make that important, make sure they’re understanding they need to stay in compliance because there are things they need to do to earn this money, and that we are getting good food into the bellies of these little kids.” 

KidCare also does what they can to celebrate providers. In past years KidCare has sent out calendars to every provider with their birthday marked and sent them birthday cards. KidCare also curates resources to help their providers be successful. During their monitoring visits, KidCare leaves providers with a nutrition unit that they can use to fulfill their 1 hour of required CACFP training, which also counts towards their licensing hours. KidCare also provides activity pages for the children that include a parent/guardian newsletter on the backside and monitors typically do an activity with the children during their visits. In addition to the resources provided during the monitoring visits, Laura also sends out a monthly newsletter about an important topic. 

Along with all of the resources KidCare provides, Laura recognizes the importance in communicating how providers can maintain integrity within their programs and holding providers to the same standards that KidCare holds themselves. 

“I feel very strongly about integrity. We treat everybody the same, nobody’s different. And I’ve taken some tips that I’ve seen about the program and shared those with the providers. ‘This is how you can have integrity within the program. Making sure you’re claiming everyday by midnight. Making sure you’re serving what you’re recording. So, I feel really strongly that we need to teach the providers and our staff the importance of following the rules and make them the same for everyone.” 

Laura is passionate about the program and motivated to continue working as a CACFP sponsor because of the impact the program has on children. Although as a sponsor, her responsibility is to the provider, the end result of the program is getting healthy, nutritious, balanced meals to children. Sponsors don’t just reimburse providers; they make sure children are fed. Laura also notes that receiving good food in the early years of development helps kids enter elementary school with healthy meal expectations. 

In Greeley, Colorado, Laura has worked at KidCare Nutrition Sponsor for over 18 years.