The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently proposed updated nutrition standards for foods and beverages served in Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) participating child-care centers and homes. This study will contribute to the tracking of successes and challenges following implementation of the new nutrition standards, and will build off of two prior HER-funded studies that evaluated the nutrition of foods and beverages served in California child-care settings. The aims of the current study are to: 1) assess what is served to children ages 0 to 5 in licensed child-care before implementation of new CACFP standards to establish a baseline for comparison with a post-implementation assessment; 2) expand data collection to a new age group, infants and toddlers ages 0 to 24 months; 3) measure improvement in child-care nutrition since the 2008 and 2012 surveys from past HER-funded studies; 4) verify the superiority of nutrition in CACFP sites to those not participating in CACFP; and 5) identify and develop policy options to address barriers to full implementation of new nutrition standards. A survey that includes the types of foods and beverages currently being served, as well as perceived barriers to providing healthier items proposed by the USDA, will be administered to a randomly selected sample of licensed child-care providers in California. Stakeholder interviews will also be conducted to help identify and explain implementation barriers and solutions to those barriers, and a policy convening will be held with child-care providers and administrators, CACFP sponsors, advocates, and policymakers to review and discuss study findings and contribute to the development of policy options.
Gathering Baseline Data to Understand Implementation Changes and the Impact of the New Child and Adult Care Food Program Standards
In the next year, an estimated 1 in 4 children will experience food insecurity (up from 1 in 6, pre-pandemic), disproportionately impacting children in low-income households and racial/ethnic minorities. To mediate loss of school meals during closures and reduce COVID-19 exposure, Congress authorized the USDA to permit local education authorities … More
Food insecurity among households with children under 18 has increased dramatically during the COVID pandemic; from 15% in 2018 to 28% in June 2020. Governments and school districts have rapidly adopted policies to help children facing food insecurity as a result of the pandemic. Two leading policies include the Pandemic-Electronic … More
Strengthening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through State Waiver Flexibilities: Perspectives from the National Network of State SNAP Directors
The rapid rise in food insecurity among households with children during COVID-19 has reinforced the critical role SNAP plays in reducing food insecurity and poverty, particularly in low-income communities of color. Waivers and other state program modifications enacted during the pandemic could improve access to SNAP and reduce income and … More