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USDA Reduces Paperwork in CACFP Program

The report centered on increasing local flexibility, tech innovation, and State agency communication to create efficiency while maintaining program integrity.

CACFP provides nutrition and nutrition education to improve health and wellness of more than 3.56 million children receiving childcare each day.
— CACFP Paperwork Reduction Work Group
The USDA released their Report to Congress: Reducing Paperwork in the Child and Adult Care Food Program this week to the public. The report was the result of tireless efforts on the part of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Paperwork Reduction Work Group (Work Group). The Work Group included professionals across national associations, state and local agencies, as well as experts in early childhood education, care, nutrition, and technology. One of our own, the National CACFP Sponsors Association (NCA) President, Vicki Lipscomb, was included in the Work Group. They were tasked with drawing on their diverse backgrounds as well as previous efforts to reduce paperwork through the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 to ultimately improve the program while creating efficiency and maintaining integrity.

The importance of the CACFP for early childhood nutrition and nutrition education for upwards of 3.56 million children a day cannot be overstated. Understanding the vital nature of the program and the modern administrative challenges of diverse populations around the country, the Work Group sought to alleviate some of the administrative burden while upholding program integrity. Administration of the program falls primarily on sponsoring organizations. Child care homes must participate under these organizations and child care centers, while having the option to participate under a State agency, oftentimes choose sponsoring organizations to conduct training, process claims for reimbursement, monitor compliance, and provide other Program assistance. Sponsoring organizations have been overwhelmingly affected by unnecessary and duplicative paperwork in the face of tightening budgets. 

The work group proposes that Congress make improvements to CACFP that would:
1. Extend the use of location in eligible areas to child care centers to determine CACFP eligibility.
2. Extend community eligibility and other approaches to facilitate a child’s participation.
3. Engage a representative work group to continue to guide paperwork reduction efforts.

The work group recommends to the USDA to:
1. Work with State agencies to implement existing flexibilities to reduce paperwork
2. Make a child’s eligibility easier to document and improve access through direct certification
3. Align monitoring requirements to streamline reviews of child care homes and centers
4. Establish a single, blended-rate method of payment, determined annually for centers
5. Simplify the documentation of food service records required by the State agency
6. Establish annual eligibility determinations for certain for-profit centers
7. Simplify verification of the nonprofit food service status of sponsored centers
8. Eliminate budget requirements that are counterproductive to a fiscally responsible Program operation
9. Further streamline the CACFP renewal process for sponsoring organizations and centers
10. Support the sponsoring organization's ability to mediate and fix problems through improvements in the serious deficiency process
11. Expand the appeals process to resolve disputes over State-specific requirements
12. Embrace technology solutions to improve integrity and reduce paperwork

As the childhood obesity epidemic continues, we strongly feel that the CACFP is more important now than ever before. Millions of children in child care centers, homes, and at-risk afterschool care are not able to access the healthy nutrition and education that the CACFP provides. The recommendations given to Congress by this report are aimed at making the program more accessible with the hope of increased participation and the ability to reach those children most in need as well as emergency shelters and adult day care centers. By embracing flexibility at the local level, supporting technological innovation to expand participation, assisting and incentivizing State agencies to increase communication with one another, and encouraging consistency with other Child Nutrition programs, the CACFP can work towards reaching every child in need. 

Full Text of the Report 

FEBRUARY 29, 2016


NCA Board Members and President Vicki Lipscomb Attend National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, Visit Members of Congress to Raise Awareness for Child and Adult Food Care Program

Sometimes, to get your message across you have to make a trip to Washington, DC. For years, the National CACFP Sponsors Association (NCA) board of directors has headed to DC each February as part of the CACFP Leadership Conference to shine a light on the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The CACFP is an important and vital program which allows access to healthy foods for our most vulnerable population – preschool children, at-risk afterschool students, elderly, and disabled adults.

This year, with the Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation in the house and senate, awareness of the CACFP on Capitol Hill is more critical than ever! NCA represents thousands of people who work tirelessly to combat hunger and bring healthy foods to the table for adults in day care and children in child care homes, centers, and in afterschool and summer feeding programs across the country. Participating organizations provide 1.96 billion meals and snacks to 3.5 million children and elderly or disabled adults at a cost of $2.87 billion in federal funding.

Join NCA in raising awareness across the nation on Capitol Hill and in your local community during National CACFP Week March 13-19, 2016! CACFP Week is a national education and information campaign sponsored annually by the National CACFP Sponsors Association (NCA). The campaign is designed to raise awareness of how the USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program works to combat hunger and bring healthy foods to the table for adults in day care and children in child care homes, centers, and in afterschool and summer feeding programs across the country.

Get ads, posters, flyers, and an entire CACFP toolkit here.

Since 1986 the National CACFP Sponsor Association (NCA) is the leading national organization for sponsors who administer the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). We provide education and support to the entire CACFP community and in particular to sponsors of all sizes from across the country. We strive to improve communication between families, care givers, sponsors, and their supervising government agencies.


FEBRUARY 18, 2016


Did you know CACFP provides 1.9 billion meals and snacks for over 3.2 million children? CACFP Week is a national campaign designed to raise awareness. Help us!

AUSTIN, TX, USA, February 18, 2016 -- Hunger is unacceptable to everyone. To combat the food insecurity that 1 in 4 Americans face, there are a number of government programs designed to provide access to healthy food. Most everyone knows about USDA’s School Lunch program and you may have even heard of the WIC program, but did you know that the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides 1.9 billion meals and snacks to over 3.2 million children in child care centers, family care homes, and after-school programs? In addition, CACFP provides that same access to over 115,000 elderly persons in Adult Day Care.

The primary goals of the CACFP is to serve nutritious meals to children and help establish positive eating habits at the earliest stages of development. Research indicates that the CACFP is an indicator of quality child care. Children that are cared for by providers participating in the CACFP benefit by being fed nutritious USDA regulated meals that ensure their proper development. These children gain from early nutrition education that helps them establish positive eating habits that will enrich the quality of their diet throughout their life. 

Child care providers receive nutrition education and support services from their CACFP sponsors who help them serve nutritious meals and create a positive eating environment for children. The quality of child care provided in our community is improved due to educational and financial resources available to caregivers through the CACFP. 

There are thousands of people who are making sure preschool children in America are getting access to healthy foods on a regular basis and many of our neighbors haven’t ever heard of it! That’s the mission of National CACFP Week – to raise awareness across the nation and encourage communities to come together to learn and acknowledge the many ways we all benefit from the hard work and dedication of CACFP professionals and the program itself. 

NCA knows that when we all join forces and work together the message we provide is stronger and will receive more attention so the association has issued a challenge to the CACFP Community with "Operation Proclamation" – a program to recognize those who actively raise awareness about the program during National CACFP Week March 13-19, 2016.


USDA_procuring_local_meat.pngOCTOBER 2015

Procuring Local Meat, Poultry, Game, and Eggs for Child Nutrition

"USDA FNS has received a number of questions related to buying local meat, poultry, game, and eggs; this memo seeks to clarify the regulatory requirements related to food safety and answer specific questions related to these products with a series of questions and answers included as an attachment."


May 2015


Sponsors and providers were recently sent surveys from Kokopelli Associates.

Questions? Here are the FAQs.



April 2015

Let's Move Child Care National Recognition Event at National CACFP Conference

Let's Move! Child Care (LMCC) is excited to recognize excellence in early education centers and homes who are participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), CACFP sponsoring agencies, and State CACFP agencies who are making outstanding efforts to improve child nutrition programs that promote young children's health and prevent childhood obesity. Read more about the winning programs here.



March 2015

USDA Release Research Summary

Formative Research on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Electronic Media Use in the Child and Adult Care Food Program



Learn More

USDA.jpgJanuary 9, 2015

USDA Proposes New Science-Based Meal Patterns for Child and Adult Care Food Program

Read Proposed Rule

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a proposed rule today with new science-based nutrition standards for meals provided through USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). With over 3 million children receiving meals from the CACFP each day, the proposed meal patterns will help ensure children have access to healthy, balanced meals throughout the day.  The rule will also provide older adults and adults in nonresidential daycare settings greater access to nutritious foods.

Under the proposed rule, meals served to children and adults in day care will include a greater variety of vegetables and fruits, more whole grains, and less sugar and fat. These changes support the ongoing efforts of numerous parents, and the many public and private organizations that serve children, to solve the current obesity crisis. Today’s proposal is the first major update of the CACFP meal patterns since the program's inception in 1968.

USDA designed meal pattern changes that would not increase cost for providers. The proposal focuses on incremental changes that reflect the science behind the nutritional needs of CACFP’s diverse participants, and are practical and achievable for the program’s varied service providers to implement.  Along with the updated meal patterns, USDA is proposing best practices as a guide for providers when choosing to take additional steps to offer high-quality and nutritious meals in their program.

“With over one in five children under the age of five being overweight or obese, the proposed improvements to the CACFP meal patterns will help safeguard the health of children early in their lives,” Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon said. “Providing children access to nutritious food early in life helps instill healthy habits that can serve as a foundation for a lifetime of healthy choices.”

Mandated by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the proposed meal pattern updates delivered to the Federal Register today for publication next week are designed to work in concert with USDA’s school meals standards, now implemented in schools across the country. Additionally, the proposed changes support breastfeeding and improve access to healthy beverages, including water and low-fat and fat-free milk. These updated meal patterns are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, scientific recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, and stakeholder input.

CACFP contributes to the nutritious foods that young children need for healthy growth, development, and wellness. Each day, the program provides millions of meals and snacks to children in their regular day care, children residing in emergency shelters, youth participating in afterschool programs, and participants in adult day care programs. While data shows childhood obesity rates are starting to level off, the proposed CACFP meal patterns are critical to creating stronger community nutrition programs and continuing successful obesity prevention efforts to help our youngest children learn to enjoy healthy foods and resolve the obesity problem.

“Not only does this program ensure nutritious meals for children,” Concannon said, “It also enables child care providers to sustain their businesses and provide affordable care to low income families.”

USDA is seeking input on the proposed rule from the public.  Those interested in reviewing the proposal and offering comments during the 90 day period are encouraged to do so once it is published at, a Web-based portal to make it easy for citizens to participate in the federal rulemaking process. All comments received will be considered carefully in finalizing the rule before it is implemented

The Child and Adult Care Food Program is one of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and the Summer Food Service Program. These programs touch the lives of one in four Americans each year and, taken together, comprise America’s nutrition safety net.

For more information about the proposed changes, please visit:

November 20, 2014

USDA.jpgUSDA Explores Cost Effective Ways to Improve Summer Food Access for Kids

Release No.

FNS Communications: (703) 305-2281

WASHINGTON, November 14, 2014 – Complementary programs that extend the reach of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) summer meal programs could help reduce childhood food insecurity during the summer, according to three studies released today by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The studies found that making enhancements to the traditional program, or utilizing alternate methods of reaching eligible children, could reach additional children and reduce childhood food insecurity during the summer to levels normally seen in the fall.

As part of USDA’s mission to address increased child hunger during the summer, USDA has conducted a series of projects examining ways to better serve children from low-income families, particularly those living in remote areas or areas otherwise underserved by USDA’s summer meal programs. The interventions tested included delivery of meals in rural areas, providing backpacks with food for weekends and holidays when summer meal sites were not available, and providing summertime nutrition assistance benefits through electronic benefit transfer (EBT).  The studies found that some of these innovative strategies were effective in reaching additional children, and some substantially reduced childhood hunger in low-income families.

“These results are an important step forward,” Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon said. “Children from low-income households depend on USDA’s nutrition assistance programs when schools are closed, which makes finding ways to improve these programs vitally important.”

USDA has tested a number of alternatives to its standard Summer Food Service Program, to address challenges in the program and expand access to underserved families.  The Summer EBT for Children demonstration project, a strategy evaluated as an alternative to the traditional summer meal programs, tested the impact of providing a monthly benefit per school age child on food insecurity among low-income children during the summer.  These benefits were delivered through existing EBT systems used in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

A previous evaluation showed that a $60 per child, per month benefit during the summer reduced the incidence of the most severe form of food insecurity among children by about one-third, with positive effects on less severe forms as well. A report released today found that a $30 benefit was as effective in reducing the most severe category of food insecurity among children during the summer. At both benefit levels, the Summer EBT for Children program was more effective at reaching eligible children.  Between 23-42 percent of eligible children joined the program, compared to about 16 percent who participate in traditional summer meal programs. 

Two additional demonstrations discussed in today’s reports tested enhancements to the traditional Summer Food Service Program to expand the reach of the program and further reduce food insecurity.  In one project, breakfast and lunch was delivered to children in rural areas of Delaware, Massachusetts, and New York who did not have access to regular SFSP sites. The studies found that this method was able to reach children in rural areas who did not have access to traditional summer meal programs, but the overall number of additional children was relatively small. A second project provided children in Arizona, Kansas, and Ohio with backpacks of food for consumption during weekend periods when SFSP sites were closed. The backpack project was effective in reaching families with the highest levels of poverty, but had mixed results on participation, with one state showing increases in participation, one showing only modest gains, and the other showing declines. Although the enhancement projects had mixed results, the evaluation found that in both cases, participating families and site operators felt the demonstrations were an important resource to address summertime hunger.

USDA has requested $30 million in the 2015 budget to expand the Summer EBT for Children pilots. If additional funding is made available, FNS will work with states to explore the best options for further implementation of this successful project.

FNS oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the Summer Food Service Program, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work in concert to form a national safety net against hunger. Visit for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.




USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

October 2014

Web-based National Disqualified List System

Beginning October 22, 2014, the USDA National Disqualified List (NDL) is accessible by independent centers and sponsors of centers in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Summer Food Service Programs (SFSP). The NDL is a list of institutions and individuals that have been disqualified and terminated from participation in the CACFP and SFSP. The purpose of maintaining the NDL and making it available via the internet to independent centers, sponsoring organizations, state agencies, and USDA is to provide a tool for promoting CACFP integrity. The NDL helps preclude several potential integrity violations from occurring by preventing:

  • institutions whose Program agreements were terminated for cause in one State from moving to another state and reapplying for Program participation

  • individuals responsible for serious mismanagement from continuing to be involved in Program administration by forming a new corporate entity and entering the Program under a different organizational name

  • individuals associated with a disqualified institution from re-entering the Program as a day care home provider, as a principal with another institution, or as a principal in a sponsored center

  • day care home providers terminated for cause by one sponsoring organization from re-entering the Program under the auspices of a different sponsoring organization


Independent centers and sponsors of centers will be required to conduct a primary check of the NDL of individuals who would be a principal of the institution, center, or sponsor. This includes family day care home providers. A principal is defined by 7 CFR 226.2 as “any individual who holds a management position within, or is an officer of, an institution or a sponsored center, including all members of the institution’s board of directors or the sponsored center’s board of directors.” 

The NDL system integrates with the USDA’s e-Authentication system.

Agency users need e-Authentication level one clearance to access the NDL system and can obtain an e-Authentication credential here.

After credentials have been established, agency users can access the NDL here and can begin checking principals immediately.


WASHINGTON, D.C., March 20, 2014 

USDA Demonstration Projects Will Provide Funding To Fight Hunger, Nourish Families

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced new funding opportunities for state agencies and Indian tribal organizations to develop innovative strategies to prevent hunger and food insecurity. The demonstration projects under the new initiative are designed to find solutions so that no child goes hungry.

"These projects offer an opportunity to explore new ways of combating childhood hunger," said Vilsack. "By encouraging new innovations, we can not only improve childhood nutrition, but also promote economic development in high-need areas."

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 provided $40 million to conduct and evaluate demonstration projects aimed at ending childhood hunger, including alternative models for service delivery and benefit levels that promote the reduction or elimination of childhood hunger and food insecurity. Nutritious foods are essential to getting kids off to a healthy start in life, and too many families are unable to provide proper nutrition for their children.

Potential projects could include innovative program delivery models for school meals, afterschool snacks programs, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program; enhanced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for eligible households with children; and changes to other targeted federal, state or local assistance, including refundable tax credits, emergency housing, employment and training, or family preservation services for households with children who are experiencing food insecurity.

Through these demonstration projects, USDA will target areas or populations where there are currently elevated levels of food insecurity or gaps in nutrition assistance program coverage. The HHFKA requires that at least one demonstration project be carried out on an Indian reservation in a rural area with a service population having a prevalence of diabetes that exceeds 15 percent.

"With the food access challenges facing many rural tribal areas, we're focused on using this initiative to find better ways to get more nutritious food to the children in those areas in particular," said Vilsack.

Approximately $30 million will be awarded for up to five demonstration projects in the form of cooperative agreements between USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and grantees. The remaining funds will be used for independent evaluations of each project.

The Request for Applications was released today on Letters of Intent are due on May 1, 2014, and completed applications are due on July 7, 2014. FNS will consider only one application from each state, U.S. territory, Indian tribal organization (ITO), or the District of Columbia. However, FNS will consider applications from both a state and an ITO with different proposed project sites in the same state. For more information, please visit

USDA's FNS administers America's nutrition assistance programs including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net.


January 27, 2014

Good News: USDA Releases New Guidance Concerning Income Eligibility Application Effective Dates

Vicki Lipscomb, NCA Board Member & Policy Chair

Prior to this memo, the effective date of the free or reduced price application was the date the sponsoring organization or center personnel approved the application. For example: a child is enrolled on January 22nd and the income application is signed on January 22nd and is approved by the sponsor on February 2nd; the child's meals would have been reimbursed at the paid level for January (assuming the parent has also completed and signed an enrollment form on the same date) and the approved rate (which may be free or reduced) beginning in February. This process required "tracking" two dates: the enrollment date and the income eligibility date as well as affecting the payment rate for the facility.

USDA has listened to sponsors and participants of the Paperwork Reduction Work Group and provided flexibility to the sponsor in determining the effective date of the approval. 

"Sponsors now have flexibility concerning the effective date of certification for Program benefits. The date to be used to make this determination may be either the date the parent or guardian signed the income eligibility form or the date on which the sponsor or independent center official signs the form to certify eligibility of the participant. This flexibility applies only to eligibility determinations made through the application process of complete applications containing all required information at the time of submission."

"Sponsors must decide which date they will rely on as the effective date and apply this date to all income eligibility forms submitted on behalf of all participants in all sponsored centers and homes."

Using the same example as above, this could result in the approval of the free or reduced application in January rather than February, improving the reimbursement level for the child care facility, and reducing paperwork and tracking of the multiple effective dates for the sponsoring organization. In addition For-Profit centers may also note the impact on their monthly eligibility to participate if they are close to the 25% enrollment requirement.  

Sponsors should continue to encourage child care facilities to submit applications as soon as received by a parent, as well as determine the most prudent method for establishing a consistent procedure for all facilities. It is also important here to note that USDA's allowing the sponsor flexibility on the choice of the noted alternatives is definitely a step to ensure that you, the sponsor, have choices to effectively manage your organization based on your resources and the types of facilities you serve.

A concern would involve the probability of a provider/center submitting a parent application several months after receipt from the parent, making the effective date the same date of the parent signature a problem since claims have already been closed out.  The sponsor, with guidance from their State Agency, should have a consistent procedure for determining "late" applications effective dates. 

NCA commends the USDA for listening to sponsor concerns and, once again, acting in a positive and effective way to facilitate management of the program efficiently for the sponsor and more advantageously for the child care home or center provider.

USDA.jpgOctober 18, 2013

UPDATE: Budget agreement signed by President provides funding for federal programs through January 15, 2014

Here is the most recent memo from Cindy Long, Child Nutrition Director, FNS, USDA.


USDA.jpgOctober 11, 2013

Impact of a Lapse in Funding on Child Nutrition Programs -- UPDATE

Cindy Long, Child Nutrition Director, FNS, USDA shared with us this most recent update sent to State agencies and Regional  Offices regarding program funding for October 2013. Included is a document of Q&As that explain the effects on Child Nutrition Programs. We will continue to keep you posted on any new developments.


Click HERE for the Q&As.

October 1, 2013 

Update on Food and Nutrition Service Operations:
Child Nutrition Programs 

Cindy Long, Child Nutrition Director, FNS, USDA shared with us this memo sent to State agencies and Regional  Offices regarding program funding for October 2013. We will keep you posted on any new developments.


August 21, 2013

Hats off to USDA!

by Vicki Lipscomb, NCA Policy and Regulation Chair      

Three important memos have just recently been issued which should help address some Sponsoring Organizations and State Agencies concerns with paperwork reduction issues. The paperwork reduction work group has surveyed sponsoring organizations and State Agencies to attempt to identify areas of concern and to identify areas that could be addressed through guidance. USDA has responded to many of our concerns by issuing the following guidance.  

Existing Flexibilities in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, CACFP-15-2013

This memo addresses important areas of paperwork reduction concerns; enrollment, payments for sponsored centers, renewal requirements and production records, just to name a few. Read this memo carefully and address areas with your state agency where you believe you can change some of your burdensome practices, remain in compliance and reduce barriers to participation. This memo strongly encourages States to find areas to streamline operations and reduce barriers to participation, especially in the application and renewal process: "State agencies must ensure that this simplification has been implemented and are encouraged to limit the amount of additional information collected."

Monitoring of LIcensing Requirements in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, CACFP-14-2013

This memo clarifies issues concerning monitoring of licensing requirements. CACFP funds cannot be used to monitor licensing requirements unless the requirements specifically overlap with CACFP requirements.

Health & Safety in the Child and Adult Care Food Program CACFP 13-2013

This memo offers guidance and clarification concerning areas of imminent threat to children and the CACFP monitors responsibilities.

July 15, 2013


NCA & Let's Move! Team Up

The National CACFP Sponsors Association is teaming up with the First Lady's Let's Move! Child Care initiative to prevent childhood obesity and get young children off to a healthy start. 

Let's Move! Child Care empowers early education and child care providers to achieve best practices in 5 goal areas: physical activity; screen time; food; beverages; and infant feeding. Thousands of early education and child care providers across the country have joined Let's Move! Child Care, including over 4,000 CACFP child care providers. 

We want to see the number of participating CACFP child care providers grow! Let's Move!  Child Care best practices are in line with basic CACFP requirements and serve as targets for going beyond the requirements to promote children's health and wellness. 

Our association's goal is to offer CACFP sponsors more training and resources on obesity prevention, and give sponsors the support they need to train and assist CACFP child care providers in achieving the Let's Move! Child Care best practices. 

 At NCA, we recognize that CACFP sponsors play an important role in reaching our nation's providers and promoting a quality child care environment. Each week, our members support tens of thousands of CACFP family child care providers and thousands of child care centers that together care for more than 1.2 million children ages 0 to 12 years. In addition, we know that many sponsors are working hard to encourage physical activity in child care as outlined in the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act. 

That is why we're joining with Let's Move! Child Care to offer our members training and resources - from nutrition and physical activity curricula to menu planning guides, training videos, and tip sheets for providers and families. Starting this month, we will include a Let's Move! Child Care section in our newsletter with the latest news and resources from the initiative. In the upcoming months, look for opportunities to participate in Let's Move! Child Care trainings.   

first-lady-at-centro-nia_original_crop.jpgFirst Lady Michelle Obama summed it up best"Everyone is going to see that these small changes can make a big difference. If our kids get into the habit of getting up and playing, if their palates warm up to veggies at an early age, and if they're not glued to a TV screen all day, they're on their way to healthy habits for life. That's why I'm so excited about LMCC - because I know that child care facilities and home-based providers can be a real building block for an entire generation of healthy kids." 

Ready to learn more about LMCC?

Visit the LMCC website

The public and private partners supporting LMCC include the Office of the First Lady, White House Domestic Policy Council, Administration for Children and Families, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Nemours, Child Care Aware of America, and University of North Carolina.

July 12, 2013

NCAlogoRGBsmallJPG.jpgWe've Changed Our Name & Have a Fresh, New Look!

The CACFP Sponsors Association (TSA) is now National CACFP Sponsors Association (NCA)!


The CACFP Sponsors Association (TSA) has been nationally recognized for providing support and resources to sponsors of the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Thank you to our loyal members and supporters who have grown with us over these past 27 years!

We started as a small, mid-western association in 1986 with a few members. We are now a more inclusive association, reaching our friends in all seven USDA Regions! As membership continues to grow and we enrich our training and resources to meet the needs of our expanding CACFP community, we felt our name should better reflect who we are, and who we have become.

We promise to continue to uphold our mission, bringing you:

  • Sponsor information on legislation, regulation, and advocacy issues
  • Shared resources among the entire CACFP community
  • Engaging and informative annual conferences - offering the largest CACFP networking and training opportunities in the nation.

We are also excited to share our fresh, new website coming soon!

Emily Olson

From the Center for American Progress
June 11, 2015 

How the Child and Adult Care Food Program Improves Early Childhood Education
Christine Binder, Joel Berg, Maryam Adamu, and Katie Hamm

preschool lunchFor many American families, finding high-quality, affordable child care is an impossible task. But it is also a necessary one, given that most families cannot afford to have a full-time, stay-at-home caregiver. Early childhood education and care programs give parents the opportunity to work, but they also have the capacity to offer important learning opportunities for children at a crucial stage of development. Unfortunately, they are too often cost prohibitive; annual child care costs are currently higher than the cost of in-state tuition and fees at public universities in more than 30 states. Furthermore, research shows that the child care options many families struggle to afford are usually of poor or mediocre quality.

One of the many tools the nation has to support low-income families and their young children is the Child and Adult Care Food Program, or CACFP. Managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, and administered by states and nonprofit groups, CACFP provides snacks and meals to more than 3 million children at child care centers, family day care homes, Head Start programs, after-school programs, and homeless shelters. In 2014, the program funded nearly 2 billion meals; the vast majority of these went to children younger than 5. Subsidizing meals defrays overall child care costs for parents and contributes to children’s ability to thrive and learn. Beyond this, CACFP also has a track record of supporting healthy and safe child care environments.

The upcoming federal child nutrition reauthorization, or CNR, process provides Congress the opportunity to support early childhood through CACFP. This report makes a case for why Congress should include provisions in the CNR bill to reduce participation barriers for programs and providers and maximize the program’s potential.

Specifically, the reauthorization bill should:

  • Increase reimbursement rates to more fully cover the costs of meals
  • Reduce the CACFP area eligibility test to 40 percent of residents living below the federal poverty line, or FPL
  • Allow three meals per day in CACFP to account for the reality that many parents are now working longer and nontraditional hours
  • Reduce CACFP paperwork by expanding direct certification and reforming the complex, two-tiered reimbursement system for family child care homes
  • Bolster the use of CACFP in ensuring safe child care settings
  • Create a small pilot grant program to reward states for using CACFP to support food related costs in preschool expansion

CACFP is a relatively small program, costing $3 billion annually; this is only about 1/25th the level of the budget of the largest federal nutrition assistance program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Because CACFP plays an outsized function by leveraging resources, Congress should make a concerted effort to make the program even stronger.

Christine Binder is the Director of Child Nutrition Policy and Programs at the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. Joel Berg is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Maryam Adamu is a Research Assistant for the Early Childhood Policy team at American Progress. Katie Hamm is the Director of Early Childhood Policy at American Progress.


March 3, 2014

War on Poverty: 50 Years Later

Last week the House Budget Committee issued the report, "The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later." The federal government spent $3.3 billion dollars in 2012 on the CACFP -- the same amount as school breakfast.

Wondering how else we spent billions of dollars fighting poverty? "Because there are so many programs, it is difficult to pin
down everything the federal government is doing to fight poverty and improve mobility. But the numbers below—from fiscal year 2012—are a good start:
• The federal government spent $799 billion on 92 programs to combat poverty.
• Over 15 programs and over $100 billion spent on food aid
• Over $200 billion spent on cash aid
• Over 20 programs and over $90 billion spent on education and job training
• Nearly $300 billion spent on health care
• Almost $50 billion spent on housing"

October 1, 2013

On his blog, Tom Copland's Taking Care of Business, NCA Advisor Tom Copeland writes:

How Does the Government Shutdown Affect the Food Program?


ImagesThe federal government shutdown began today and many family child care providers are worried about whether they will continue to receive payments from the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

The Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service(FNCS) office has issued a contingency plan that says that payments will continue for the month of October. Therefore, your reimbursements for food served in September should be paid.

After that, it depends on whether or not Congress passes a budget for the fiscal year that started today.

There may be some differences in how CACFP sponsors will react to this government shutdown. Some sponsors may have other funds that they can use to reimburse providers for October meals. Some sponsors may be part of a larger federally funded agency and suffer cutbacks that may affect their ability to process September claims. Contact your sponsor for further information.

Here is a statement from the FNCS contingency plan:

"The Child Nutrition (CN) Programs, including School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk will continue operations into October. Meal providers are paid on a reimbursement basis 30 days after the end of the service month. Limited carryover funding will be available during a lapse to support FY 2014 meal service.

Once an appropriation is enacted, we expect additional resources will be available to reimburse October performance. In addition, most State agencies will continue to have fiscal year 2013 funds available for State Administrative Expenses (SAE). SAE funds are awarded to States for a two year grant period and they are permitted to carryover up to 20 percent of their allocation into the second year of the grant period."

I will be monitoring this closely and let everyone know when I receive more specific information.

July 17, 2013 

Child Development Center earns ‘Eat Smart’ status

The Child Development Center at St. Charles Community College has adopted new guidelines for meals and snacks to promote healthier eating habits and improve the nutrition of children at the facility.

The Missouri Eat Smart Guidelines, developed by the state health department, are designed to boost the nutrition of children ages 2-12 and help them maintain a healthy weight. The guidelines include recommendations for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

“We are pleased that St. Charles Community College Child Development Center is working to improve the health of the children it serves,” said Ann McCormack, chief of the health department’s Bureau of Community Food and Nutrition Assistance. “Child care facilities play an important role in providing young people with the nutrition they need for good health now and helping them learn life-long healthy habits.”

The Eat Smart program is voluntary and open to child care facilities throughout Missouri that participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Eat Smart recommendations include more whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, fewer processed foods, lower-fat milk and fewer sweet snacks and breakfast foods.

The program is offered at three levels: minimum, intermediate and advanced. Each level requires increasingly higher nutrition standards, and only centers that meet the intermediate or advanced levels are recognized. St. Charles Community College Child Development Center has achieved the advanced level.

In addition to menu recommendations, the Eat Smart Guidelines address factors that impact the mealtime environment at child care centers. Those recommendations include lessons about healthy eating habits, caregivers modeling healthy behaviors, family-style meals, no television during mealtime and healthier classroom parties.

To qualify for the Eat Smart designation, child care centers must apply to participate in the CACFP and submit their menus, nutrition-related policies, food labels and other supporting documents to the state health department.

Child care facilities achieving Eat Smart status receive a certificate, a banner and menu templates to post in the facility. They also receive a letter to provide information to parents about the new nutrition guidelines and can use the Eat Smart logo to promote the changes at the facility.

MARCH 20, 2013


Food program takes aim at childhood obesity

Access to nutritious meals is an issue that is currently being addressed in a number of ways. Concerns about childhood obesity and economic factors are among the reasons that teaching and providing good nutrition to children are important. A large garden has been developed at the Cayuga Onondaga BOCES site to grow produce that can be made available to people who use local food pantries, and community gardens have popped up at a variety of locations. In addition, representatives of several local organizations provide information on preparing and cooking produce, and on canning and other forms of preservation. Frequently, nutrition education and healthy snacks and meals are provided to children who participate in before- and after-school programs.

The Partnership for Results Extended School Day Program and the Booker T. Washington Community Center have both been able to take advantage of funding offered through the Child and Adult Care Food Program. CACFP is a program administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assist community organizations that provide meals and snacks to low-income children and elderly adults. Child care centers, adult care centers, day care homes and after-school programs are all eligible to apply for CACFP funding. In order to be eligible to receive services through CACFP, participants must meet the same income requirements as those used for the National School Lunch Program.

The meals that are provided through CACFP must meet Department of Agriculture guidelines. Breakfast must include three components: fluid milk, vegetable/fruit or juice, and grains/breads. Snacks must contain two different components from among the following: fluid milk, vegetable/fruit/juice, grains/breads and meat/meat alternate. Dinners must serve all of those components (vegetable/fruit twice). Minimum portion sizes are specified, as are other requirements. For example, milk must be 1-percent or skim, breads and grains must be from whole grain or enriched grain or flour, and fruit and vegetable juice must be full-strength.

CACFP funding pays fixed rates that are based on the number of snacks or meals that are provided to the participants. On an annual basis, an audit of menus is carried out by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, which oversees CACFP in New York state. This audit is meant to insure that all portion and nutritional requirements are met by organizations that receive the funding.

At the Booker T. Washington Community Center, children who attend the before-school program are provided with breakfast through CACFP. Children in the after-school program are given a snack at the beginning of the program and then are able to enjoy a nutritious meal at the end of the program. Children in the Partnership for Results Extended School Day programs in Auburn have a nutritious snack at the beginning of the program and dinner before they go home. In addition, these children participate in the preparation and serving of the food, which helps them to understand the parts that go into making the meal and the nutritional thought that is part of the menu design. They learn food preparation and other skills that could potentially be occupational skills that they can use later in life.

Children who begin to learn about good nutrition early in life will be able to carry that knowledge with them as they mature. In the end, this will help to end childhood obesity, and will help young people to learn what can be done to eat healthy meals, even on a low income.

March 6, 2013

Food Program Addresses Obesity and Childcare Shortage

The need for childcare is on the rise.

And so is the incidence of childhood obesity.

Heartland Child Nutrition hopes to address these issues with The Child and Adult Care Food Program.

The federally-funded program reimburses childcare providers for serving healthy meal options.

Providers follow the program's guidelines in what they serve to the kids.

The average reimbursement is 4 dollars and 36 cents per kid per day.

Provider Angie Neigum has been involved in the program for 15 years.

She says food costs are one of her highest expenses.

And she says the program covers one good trip to the grocery store every month.

"A lot of people say, is it even worth it for the paperwork and the hassle. And I say, 'Look at it this way, if you were standing in line at the grocery store and someone came up behind you and said, 'I'm going to buy your whole cart of groceries,' you wouldn't turn them down.' So, one good trip a month. And that's good enough for me," says Angie Neigum.

Executive Director Shirleen Piela says the program offers many health benefits for children.

And she hopes the program encourages more people to provide in-home daycare services.

"This might help them make their business more profitable. At the same time, by being on the childhood and adult food program, it helps with the obesity issue, because kids are eating healthier. We encourage the fresh fruits and vegetables, which someone who is not on the food program couldn't possibly afford and the kids wouldn't get good meals," says Shirleen Piela of Heartland Child Nutrition.

Food Research and Action Center

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