CACFP Week is a national education and information campaign sponsored annually by the National CACFP Sponsors Association. The campaign is designed to raise awareness of how the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program works to combat hunger and bring healthy foods to the table for adults in adult care centers and children in child care homes, centers, and in afterschool and summer feeding programs across the country.
The purpose of the National CACFP Week is:
1. To educate parents and the community about how the CACFP helps child care providers serve well balanced, nutritious meals,
2. To promote proper nutrition for growing children,
3. To ensure long-term health benefits by creating healthy eating habits.
Creating awareness of the Child and Adult Care Food Program helps ensure that over 4 million children will continue to receive healthy and nutritious meals every day. Awareness is the key to fighting hunger together.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service established the CACFP in 1968 to promote the service of nutritious meals and snacks in child and adult care centers and family child care homes contributing to the wellness, healthy growth and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons.
Goals of the CACFP
The primary goal of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is to serve nutritious meals to children attending child care homes and centers. Secondary goals are: 1. The establishment of positive eating habits at the earliest stages of development. 2. Reduction of future health care and education costs due to lack of proper early development. 3. Training and support of local child care personnel. Research also indicates that the CACFP is one important factor in providing quality child care.
Children that are cared for by providers participating in the CACFP benefit by being fed nutritious USDA regulated meals that ensure their proper development. These children gain from early nutrition education that helps them establish positive eating habits that will enrich the quality of their diet throughout their life.
Parents of children in child care are assured that their children receive high quality meals. With proper nutrition, the child is less likely to experience illness and fatigue and will develop at a normal physical and intellectual pace. Good nutrition is the recipe for an all-around happier child.
Providers receive nutrition education and support services from their CACFP sponsor that help them serve nutritious meals and create a positive eating environment for children. The quality of child care provided in the community is improved due to educational and financial resources available to caregivers through the CACFP.
The educational and financial resources available to eligible agencies through the CACFP can improve the overall quality of child and adult care center provided. Households are assured that their children and older adults are receiving high quality meals and nutrition education that helps establish positive eating habits. In addition, agencies have opportunities to participate in training and grants to promote good nutrition and physical activity.
Benefits of the CACFP
The CACFP provides approximately 2 billion meals and snacks to over 4.3 million children daily in child care centers, family child care homes, and after-school programs; over 115,000 elderly persons in adult day care services; over 62,000 child care centers; 115,000 family child care providers working with 800 sponsors use CACFP to provide children with high quality nutrition and learning experiences.
For more ways to get involved in spreading the word about the importance of the CACFP, you can contact the National CACFP Sponsors Association. The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) is a leading national nonprofit that also supports the work of the CACFP, as well as other child nutrition programs. You can check out their information here.
ChildWatch® can help you manage all aspects of the CACFP, from classifying income applications, getting and recording accurate meal counts, planning and scheduling healthy menus, to the consolidation and submission of your claim. Please contact us for more information!