Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Support
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) runs a New York State Department of Health Program, which pays child care professionals part of the money they spend to serve nutritious snacks and meals to the children in their care. These meals must meet the nutritional standards set up by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Family Child Care Homes that are licensed, registered or legally exempt from licensing are eligible to participate in CACFP.
Why is CACFP important?
USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program plays a vital role in improving the quality of daycare and making it more affordable for many low-income families. Each day, 3.3 million children receive nutritious meals and snacks through CACFP. The program also provides meals and snacks to 120,000 adults who receive care in nonresidential adult day care centers. CACFP reaches even further to provide meals to children residing in emergency shelters, and snacks and suppers to youths participating in eligible afterschool care programs.
Child and Adult Care Food Programs Offer Lifetime Benefits
- Children's eating patterns and habits are established in the preschool years and may determine the quality of diet throughout life. Children in child care with CACFP providers have the opportunity to enjoy healthy foods.
- Parents know that their children will be served healthy meals with CACFP early care professionals and that they are more likely to be healthy, happy and develop at a normal physical, emotional and intellectual pace.
- Child Care Professionals receive important nutrition education from CACFP that helps them learn about healthy foods and appropriate amounts to feed children in young age groups. Child care professionals receive help through personal visits from CACFP staff in understanding how to help children make healthy food choices for their meals and snacks. This can help form positive eating habits that will last a lifetime.
- Community Federal tax money is invested in the health of children in the community because of CACFP, which helps keep child care costs down. In addition, CACFP providers are monitored, so they also are more likely to follow state child care regulations.
As a CACFP sponsor, the Child Care Council of Suffolk:
- Helps child care professionals plan healthy meals
- Teaches providers how to promote healthy eating habits in children
- Provides on-site nutritional training and technical assistance
- Offers free nutritional workshops that count toward New York State Office of Children and Family Services required training hours
- Helps child care professionals follow CACFP requirements for reimbursement.