On January 9, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a proposed rule with new science-based nutrition standards for meals provided through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The CACFP provides reimbursements for meals and snacks served to children in child care facilities, after-school programs, and emergency shelters. Each day, an average of 475,000 children in California are benefitting from the nutrition resources provided through CACFP.
California has more than 3 million children between the ages of 0 and 5, of which more than one in four (26.6%) live in poverty. Early childhood is a critical time of development. Nutrition habits and preferences are developed within the first five years of life. Young children are especially vulnerable to the impacts of food insecurity, with poor nutrition affecting a young child's ability to learn and grow. CACFP is an essential component of our child care system. Not only does the program ensure young children in child care receive adequate and healthful foods, but it also supports the overall quality of child care.