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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Marshall

USDA Proposed Rule: Action link to comment for family child care providers

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

Updated 3/29/2023


In February 2023, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a big proposal to revise

school meals and CACFP Meal Patterns. It is just a proposal, and now there is a public comment period. This is our chance to help USDA leaders and staff understand child care, your meals and snacks, and what you need in order to succeed. The comment deadline is May 10, 2023 (extended from the original April 10th deadline).


Our national partners and CACFP Roundtable have worked together to create a model comment that can be used by the community. It basically conveys that we think the answer is no, the timeframe is not right, and we do not have the facts about how this could impact family child care providers in part because USDA has not yet conducted stakeholder input. Family child care providers take great pride in the meals and snacks served to children each day. The onramp to a new policy takes time, training, dollars, and direct assistance to ensure understanding and compliance among providers and CACFP Sponsor staff.


Use this link to comment, it's fast and simple. Add your own experiences and thoughts as well - this is welcomed and provides an important perspective!


CACFP Sponsors of family child care provider homes, family child care provider associations, and resource and referral agencies, you can use this template letter to share this action alert with family child care providers.

 

Content of the message that will be sent if you choose not to change it.


I am a family child care provider participating in CACFP. I take great pride in the meals and snacks that I serve, and this takes significant time each day, week and month. Food costs are a significant expense to family child care providers like me, and the reimbursement provided by CACFP does not fully cover the cost of meeting the meal pattern standards. Meanwhile, a recent survey documented a third of child care providers are experiencing hunger themselves.


I believe the proposed implementation timeline is too aggressive, and urge you to delay implementation of the proposed CACFP changes. It is not possible for family child care providers to make all the necessary adjustments beginning school year 2025-26. Though that may sound far away, the onramp to a new policy takes time, training, dollars, and direct assistance to ensure understanding and compliance among providers and CACFP Sponsor staff. I urge USDA and states to use the additional time to develop an “approved list,” and to work with manufacturers and retailers to ensure they can catch up with updated demand, which might vary regionally within and across states.


Family Child Care providers paid too little and we are about to return to the harmful two-tier system for family child care in CACFP without Congressional action, and are challenged to meet our grocery bills without juggling one more concern.


The CACFP community was not engaged for stakeholder input before this rule was proposed. We would appreciate the opportunity to talk with you about our operations, our challenges, and our successes. We look forward to working with you to achieve our shared goal of ensuring the young children in our programs are not only fed, but fed well.

 

What are they proposing? You can review the proposal and its impact on CACFP in a variety of ways:

This is mostly about which yogurt and cereal will still be reimbursable in CACFP - based on how the product’s sugar content is calculated. Most of the proposal is about school meals but there are small but important changes being proposed for child care meals and snacks.

 

What about comment guidance for other CACFP community members?

There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Child care centers and afterschool programs can, edit the proposed content, say who you are and your thoughts and experiences

  • CACFP Roundtable will be publishing a comment and ways entities can comment based on our organizational letter - coming very soon

  • Use the proposed comments by NCA

  • Comment directly to the federal register here

 

Pandemic era flexibilities and funding are ending for CACFP: Let's discuss what this means for the CACFP Community

Register here for this informational meeting on March 30, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. pacific


Over the last three years, there have been nationwide waivers and flexibilities issued by USDA to help the CACFP community respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure access to CACFP meals in an ever-changing environment. The Department of Health and Human Services has declared the end of the public health emergency which provides an end date for these flexibilities. Congress also passed an act, the Keep Kids Fed Act, that provided additional funding that is expiring this summer. Join the CACFP Roundtable, your CACFP community, USDA FNS Western Region, and CDSS CACFP Branch to hear more about what information is currently available, how CDSS is planning for the impact of the waiver expirations, and to discuss how lessons learned by utilizing waivers can be incorporated into future program operations.

 

Fill out this survey to tell us what you want to see at the Annual CACFP Conference this year!

 

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.


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