Establishing healthy habits in early childhood is critical to the early care and education setting. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is an important part of shaping the meals and snacks that child care providers serve for children and staff of all ages. New documents and training resources have recently been released by the USDA to help participants with the transition to implementing new meal patterns by October 1, 2017. In addition to these resources, the USDA released updated payment rates and a new labeling verification tool to help providers plan for meals and credit food more accurately, to make it easier for children to receive proper nutrition at every meal and snack time.
Updated Payment Rates:
The new National Average Payment Rates, Day Care Home Food Service Payment Rates, and Administrative Reimbursement Rates for Sponsoring Organizations of Day Care Homes for the period of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018 is available. These rates are adjusted annually to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index, which measures changes in the price level of certain goods purchased. The new reimbursement rates for child care centers reflect a higher cost of living in Alaska and Hawaii, while also giving small increases to the 48 contiguous states. While increases for child care centers is progress, there was either no change, or slight decreases for family child care homes.
New Child Nutrition Label Verification Report:
The Child Nutrition (CN) Labeling Program requires an evaluation of the food contents to determine if it contributes to meal pattern requirements. This program helps providers when crediting certain products on their reports to ensure that children are receiving adequate nutrition in child care. A new verification report from the USDA allows for product look-up for different food types and brands with the exact CN crediting amount. This resource helps make meal planning easier for providers and ensures that children and staff are receiving better nutrition during meal and snack time.