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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Marshall

Research Brief: FCC Providers need more funding to provide healthy meals in CACFP

Our community knows how impactful CACFP meals are for children in care settings. They are healthy and many times are the only meals the children receive during the day. We also know that reimbursement rates aren't high enough, particularly at the Tier II rates, to ensure providers, of whom one of three is food insecure themselves, are not absorbing the cost of the meals served.

For two years, via pandemic funding and policy adjustments, Tier II providers were reimbursed at the same rate as Tier I providers. This ended on June 30, 2022, with the end of the Keep Kids Fed Act (FFKA).

Since tiering began providers, sponsors, advocates, and state agencies have witnessed a steep decline in family child care providers participating in the Food Program. This period of time has provided us with a natural experiment to see 1) if tiered reimbursements impact participation 2) if tiered reimbursements impact the quality of meals served in family child care home programs, and 3) other impacts of the tiered structure on family child care providers and to the children they serve meals.

The Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) in collaboration with UC Berkeley and the CACFP Roundtable, has had the opportunity to research the impact of tiered reimbursements for family child care providers participating in CACFP. Structured interviews have been conducted with both Tier I and Tier II providers in California as part of an ongoing study.

This research brief, Family Childcare Home Providers Need More CACFP Funding to Provide Healthy Meals and Snacks to Young Children, is a look into the initial results of the perspectives of family child care providers' experiences with CACFP benefits and reimbursements (Lee, D. et al, 2023).

This brief and the ongoing research come at an opportune time to share with Congress the need for more funding in CACFP. Recently, Representative Landsman and Representative Bonameci have introduced the Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act which eliminates tiering, adds an additional 10 cents (for all meals served in CACFP programs), and eases the process for family child care providers to claim their own children.

Take Action!

Join Us to Hear the Initial Results at the Conference

NPI, CDSS CACFP Branch, and the CACFP Roundtable are presenting at the Annual CACFP Conference about this and it's not too late to join us. Register by tomorrow, October 6th, and be a part of the conversation on Monday, October 9th at 2:45 for Impacts of COVID-19 Changes to Meal and Snack Reimbursements on Family Child Care Home Providers. We hope to see you there!

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