Today, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing to markup the “Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016” a bill that reauthorizes and amends the child nutrition portion of the National School Lunch Act (NSLA).
Child care providers across the country depend on federal funding to feed children in early care and education settings. Federal investments in child nutrition programs and more specifically, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) are critical to child care providers. While, it is exciting to potentially have the bill reauthorized and receive federal investments, many providers may experience change, with some of the new provisions.
The bill completely repeals section five of the NSLA, which is designed to promote nutrition. Further, it eliminates the authority for administrative expenses to be used by sponsoring organizations to assist unlicensed family or group child care homes obtain licensure. Many sponsoring organizations have relied on the program for start-up support, which will no longer be permitted.
The good news:
The bill does expand the option for an additional snack for each child spending at least 9 hours in a child care setting. The bill also allows residential child care providers to participate in both CACFP and NSLP. The bill has explicit language that states residential child care providers may be reimbursed for two meals and one supplement.
We will keep you updated on the bills’ progression through Congress, along with any critical changes and updates. In the interim, please urge your Member of Congress to continue to put children and families first, who depend on the sustainability of the child nutrition program.