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The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

Kids gathered around a table eating food

PRIORITY POLICY

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides federal funding to states to reimburse child care programs and other providers for serving nutritious food to children and adults in their care. More than 4.2 million children and 138,000 adults participate each year.

Providers, including early care and education programs and out-of-school time providers, must serve meals that meet minimum nutrition standards to receive reimbursement. CACFP’s nutrition standards are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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Kids gathered around a table eating food

Recommendations

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation urges these actions to prevent hunger and increases in poverty.

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USDA should expand CACFP to allow the option of a third meal service, and Congress should appropriate additional funding if required.

USDA should continue streamlining CACFP program operations and paperwork to allow for easier enrollment for providers to serve as sponsors of the program.

USDA should ensure that CACFP can fund nutrition and wellness education and program efforts.

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Fast Facts

CACFP has wide-ranging impacts

$3.7B

USDA reimbursed $3.7 billion to child and adult care providers in FY 2019.

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↓36%

During the pandemic, CACFP state reimbursements dropped 36% ($741M less in March-September 2020 compared to previous year)

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42 Million

More than 4.2 million children receive nutritious meals and snacks each day through CACFP

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