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July Policy Update

July 8, 2024

Policy Update Interior

Since our last policy updated, there are new opportunities for you to advocate, in addition USDA has released two final rules, two pieces of guidance, and two data reports on CACFP. Check out the recent policy updates below!



During the entire month of August, every congressional elected official will be back in their home state or district. Don’t miss this opportunity to advocate for CACFP! Showcasing your program is one of the most impactful ways to advocate for the CACFP. Some elected officials have never heard of the CACFP before, and therefore don’t know about the great work that thousands of providers and operators like you are doing every day. Learn why you should how your elected official and check out NCA resources to help you along the way.

Visit our Action Center to invite your congressional representative to visit your program in August!

USDA Rulemaking

Child Nutrition Programs Meal Pattern Final Rule

This final rule was released by USDA in April with updates to better align meal patterns in the CACFP, SFSP, and National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Updates impacting the CACFP that are effective July 1, 2024, include:

  • Allowing vegetables to be substituted for grains in programs that primarily serve American Indian or Alaska Native children, as well as in Guam and Hawaii.
  • Allowing nuts and seeds to credit for the full meats/meat alternates component.

Updates impacting the CACFP that have an extended implementation date and are effective October 1, 2025, include:

  • Changing limits for breakfast cereals and yogurt from total sugars to added sugars.
  • Clarifying that both state licensed healthcare professionals and registered dietitians may write medical statements to request meal modifications on behalf of participants with disabilities.

WIC Food Package Final Rule

This final rule was released by USDA in early April to revises regulations to align the WIC food packages with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and to reflect recommendations from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine while promoting nutrition security and equity and considering program administration. Under CACFP regulations, each institution (other than outside-school-hours care centers, at-risk afterschool care centers, emergency shelters, and adult day care centers) must ensure that parents of enrolled children are provided with current information on the benefits and importance of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the eligibility requirements for WIC participation. Therefore, it is important that sponsors, child care centers, and family child care homes understand updates that have been made to WIC in order to provide the correct information to parents.


USDA Guidance

Geographic Preference Expansion Related to the Final Rule

This memorandum provides a detailed explanation of the expanded geographic preference option. CNP operators, State agencies purchasing for CNPs, and the USDA Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (USDA DoD Fresh) may use local as a specification and continue to set a geographic preference when soliciting or buying unprocessed agricultural products. CNP operators and State agencies purchasing on their behalf are not required to use geographic preference when procuring unprocessed agricultural products; it remains an option. The implementation date of the final rule provision is July 1, 2024.

State Agency Financial Review Requirements

Child Nutrition Program Integrity Final Rule codified the requirement for an annual reconciliation of bank account activity and accounting of reported actual expenditures with Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) payments. The amended regulatory provisions have a compliance date of August 23, 2024, and State agencies should plan to implement these new requirements on or before the program year beginning October 1, 2024. This memorandum provides a summary of each provision and instructions for how to complete the annual verification of bank account activity and actual expenditures.


CACFP Research

USDA FNS recently released their Childcare and Meal Provisions: Data Analysis Report which examines childcare providers’ participation in CACFP across the United States. The study uses existing data from a nationally representative survey of childcare centers and home-based providers to examine how the characteristics of providers, their settings, and their communities predict participation in CACFP. 

USDA FNS also released their Family Day Care Home Participation Study which focuses on current and former CACFP participants among FDCH providers. These providers serve a critical need within the child care system, frequently offering longer hours of care (often at a lower cost) than other types of providers to children in their own communities and neighborhoods. This study is the first national study to ask former providers why they left. The study spans 2019–2023, which coincides with the COVID-19 public health emergency, so it provides a unique look at FDCHs during that time.   


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