The USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) plays a large role in supporting nutrition in child care settings, specifically targeting these benefits to low-income populations. Foods provided to children participating in CACFP programs must meet specific nutrition standards in order to be reimbursed with federal funds. This study seeks to understand how the recently updated CACFP meal patterns match the practical abilities of participating programs to implement them. The study also aims to understand how children’s dietary intakes have changed as a result of the updates. While improving the CACFP meal patterns is of great importance, the reality is that CACFP does not reach all the children who could benefit from the program. Thus, a second aim of this study is to enhance knowledge about access to CACFP in order to improve access to CACFP-funded meals and reduce inequities in food access and health. The study will employ a mixed methods approach that will include both a natural experiment to assess the impact of the updated meal patterns on children’s dietary intakes as well as a national sample that will be used to evaluate inequities in access to CACFP-participating child care centers.
Understanding the lost opportunity of the Child and Adult Care Food Program in improving child nutrition and reducing health inequities
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