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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Marshall

Food w/ Care: Proposal to CA state legislature to reimburse child care providers at the highest rate

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Earlier this month the CACFP Roundtable in partnership with Nourish California hosted a CACFP Policy Town Hall to present the policy we are proposing to the state legislature and hear back from the CACFP community. You can find the recording and slides here. Find the fact sheet here.

The Problem

Underlying federal rules for child care meal programs don’t reflect California's true level of poverty—keeping many children from accessing nutritious, affordable meals. For example, a family of four must make less than $34,060 a year in order for a child care center to serve a free meal.

Child care providers take the hit financially for federal rules that don’t take into account California's high cost of living. Each year, providers absorb tens of millions of dollars in costs for meals served to children who don’t qualify for free meals, but who need them all the same. The harm to children and the burden on providers is exacerbated by state policies that financially penalize child care providers for feeding younger children. Existing statute creates a pay penalty that limits providers to only 75% of the state reimbursement for meals served. The pay penalty is the result of a racist legacy of child care laws—still in place today— that undervalue and underpay labor historically performed by Black, Latina, and immigrant women. The Problem Why This Matters California recently became the first state in the nation to expand free meals to all K-12 students. It's time to make a similar investment in our youngest learners.

The Opportunity

The federal child care meal program, with adequate funding and support, has the power to fill the gap in equitable access to healthy meals in child care while supporting the financial stability of the child care workforce.


The CACFP Roundtable is committed to fostering a community of leaders who work together to build equitable access to the Child and Adult Care Food Program and nutritious meals in care settings. Your support goes toward programs and advocacy that help us get closer to ensuring everyone has the right to nutritious meals and making the CACFP an even better Food Program for all.


Always check our events page for upcoming trainings, meetings and other opportunities for education and networking. You can find it here! We have a pop-up meeting on Thursday, January 27th, our next member meeting is in March and don't forget to save the date for our conference in October!

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