Child Nutrition Reauthorization Update -Onward
Congressional appropriators, on December 20th, announced an omnibus agreement to fund the federal government through 2023. It was a 1.7 trillion dollar agreement. This is the agreement in which advocates were hoping the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) would be included at the end of the year. This agreement would have included the additional meal for CACFP. However, unfortunately, CNR as a whole, the extra meal, or anything CACFP-related did not get included in the end of year omnibus agreement.
The bill did include access to summer meals for children through nationwide Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Program and alternative delivery options including noncongregate meals in certain circumstances for the summer meal service program.
First, THANK YOU for all of your efforts throughout the year (and years prior) to get congress to hear the CACFP community. It worked. We may not have gotten what we sought but we were SO close.
Second, it is a long road to make change and we've been on this particular road for a while - 12 years. We've made strides together. Think about the emergency funding during COVID, and the wins for CACFP in the Keep Kids Fed Act. Congress understands your value, you've been telling them about it for a long time - this is why in a pinch they gave CACFP relief. We need to keep reminding them about CACFP and the impact it makes in communities and across the nation.
Third, while it is disappointing we didn't get the extra meal this year, we have the opportunity to make stronger CNR legislation in the (hopefully near) future.
Fourth, advocates anticipate Congress will take up CNR in 2024 after the Farm Bill is completed!
What can you do?
Tell your story. Tell us what works and what doesn't. Tell us the impact of tier 1 for all, tell us how reimbursement doesn't meet the needs of your budgets, tell us how without the food program you wouldn't be able to feed the children in your care, tell us about how improving the serious deficiency process would increase access to the program or save your program money, tell us about virtual visits and why they should stay or whatever is most important to you! And tell your representatives. We'll keep beating the drum but we need you to do it with us. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions, get involved or find out more ways to tell your unique CACFP story. You can also check out our community stories and the CACFP Kid Ambassador Project for inspiration.
Let's continue to make the CACFP even better together in 2023 and future years. Happy New Year to all of you and thank you for being a part of our CACFP Community.