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Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs
(LOGA)

122 C Street N.W., Suite 125
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: 202-783-7507       
loga@elca.org


Child and Adult Care Food Program

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides meals and snacks to children in child care centers, Head Start programs, family child care homes, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and after-school programs.  Everyday, 2.6 million children and 74,000 adults participate.  This program assists families who seek quality child care by providing excellent nutrition that is crucial for a child’s health, growth and development and a stream of income that helps to reduce caretaker turnover in family child care.  This funding allows centers to supplement their own food spending and make available child care money that can be spent on quality of care and other services for the children.

Lutheran churches participate in the CACFP program in child care centers and pre-schools.  After interviewing 18 different centers throughout the country, here are the results:

Of the 18 centers interviewed, the number of children served ranged from 17 – 140.  Many of the child care centers were early childhood centers or preschools.  Church buildings served as the sites for the majority of these child care centers.  Most centers were able to provide a breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack.  Some were able to serve a morning snack too.  11 sites served low-income children, with a few having a high percentage of children in low-income families.

Positive:

  • Kids get a well-balanced meal

  • Children receive high quality snacks

  • Child care centers are able to purchase infant formula/foods through reimbursements

  • Child care centers are able to afford better meals for children

  • Families, who are very busy and can’t afford to pay for meals, are helped

  • Program provides nutrition education, guidelines for what/how much to serve

  • Children become exposed to new kinds of food

Negative:

  • Paperwork for reimbursement is excessive, time-consuming and often redundant

  • Reimbursements for free/reduced-price meals are sometimes inadequate

  • Eligibility for free/reduced-price meals is difficult to determine, parents don’t want others to know or are embarrassed about income

  • Paperwork to sign up children every year is burdensome, children often return to the same center every year

  • CACFP regulations and Board of Health regulations have discrepancies

Changes:

  • Condense, streamline paperwork

  • Place less emphasis on documentation, more on nutrition

  • Provide new recipes and presentations, address food allergies

  • Increase availability of training opportunities, flexibility in training and re-application process

  • Develop more clear lines of communication

  • Give providers a chance to have a say in the menus and what is being served

  • Increase reimbursement for meals – to purchase higher quality, fresh foods rather than processed foods

  • Increase reimbursement for administrative costs

For more information please contract Kay Bengston, Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, (202) 626-7943. E-mail: kay_bengston@elca.org

 

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