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Celebrating the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

March 06, 2023

2023 CACFP Week Social Media Image Landscape

What is CACFP?  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s  Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is an essential federal program that brings nutritious food to, and builds positive eating habits for, children in child care programs, including child care centers, home-based programs and after-school care. Every day, 4.2 million children receive healthy meals and snacks through CACFP. The program supports child care programs, provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children enrolled in child care programs, and provides guidance to help programs create healthy meals. We celebrate the Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) across the country who act as CACFP sponsors and the child care programs who participate in CACFP. 

What is National CACFP Week? 

March 12-18, 2023, is National CACFP Week. National CACFP Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness about the CACFP program and its role in addressing nutrition and food insecurity in child care programs.  

In recognition of National CACFP Week, the CACFP Sponsors Association has issued a social media challenge, with a chance to win $100. 

CACFP’s Vital Role 

At Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA), we believe good nutrition is essential to healthy child development and a critical component of high-quality health care. For this reason, we encourage eligible providers to participate in CACFP. We also work to support policies that encourage healthy food in child care at the federal and state level through funding for nutrition programs, state licensing and quality measurement standards. 

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted access to CACFP for children. In addition, CACFP sponsor organizations and CACFP-participating child care programs experienced large decreases in funding due to reduced child care attendance and enrollment. CCAoA worked with partners to ensure ECE programs were able to continue to serve food to low-income children in the midst of the upheaval associated with the pandemic. In addition, CCAoA has compiled best practices among select states to address barriers to participation and expand access. In the 2022-23 school year, state agencies had the choice to return to pre-COVID operations or seek flexibility through submission of individual state waivers.  CACFP is a critical source of support for child care programs in their work to encourage wellness and healthy child development. 

Learn More about CACFP and Nutrition 

Topics: Health & Safety

Nicole Garro, MPH

Written by Nicole Garro, MPH

Nikki Garro is Director of Early Childhood Health Programs at Child Care Aware® of America. Prior to joining CCAoA, Ms. Garro has over 20 years of experience working to improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on child health.