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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Marshall

USDA publishes two new studies focused on CACFP and child care participation

In June 2024, USDA published two studies.


This study, which many of you may have been a part of in some way, is a consideration of why family child care providers choose to leave or stay on CACFP. The study documents the benefits and challenges of CACFP as well as why providers have left.


Benefits include:

  • A general positive feeling toward the food program

  • Reported that it was easy to enroll in

  • Appreciate the help in providing food to more children

  • Technical assistance and training


Challenges stated include:

  • Reimbursement is not enough to cover the cost of food

  • Paperwork and administrative tasks


It is reported in this study that 70% of the family child care providers that have left the CACFP have closed their businesses altogether.


This study looks at the data from the 2019 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to compare overall licensed child care with participation in the CACFP.


Key findings as stated in the summary on USDAs website (USDA FNS, June 2024):

  • In 2019, 61 percent of eligible childcare centers and 67 percent of eligible day care home providers participated in CACFP.

  • CACFP-participating centers and homes were more likely to serve children experiencing food insecurity at home.

  • CACFP-participating providers were more likely to serve populations experiencing economic disadvantage.

  • CACFP-participating homes and centers were more likely to use a curriculum or prepared learning activities.

  • Most CACFP providers that operated in 2019 were still operating in October 2020 during the pandemic, though centers were more likely to remain open than homes. Both centers and homes that were still operating continued to participate in CACFP.


Studies like these help us contextualize conversations with leaders and policymakers. They give us an opportunity to say, this is real and we support this or this isn't our experience because of x, y, and z. They are always another step to the next question, building off of research and experience is how we can make the program better. Do your experiences align with what these studies indicate? We always love to hear from you! Samantha@ccfproundtable.org


 

Registration opens soon! Until then, you can book your rooms and budget for this unique CACFP community experience with us in October at Universal City, CA. Learn more here.


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