CACFP Making a Difference for Arkansas’ Children

Mar 22nd, 2012 | By admin | Category: Entertainment

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is making a big difference for children’s health and nutrition in Arkansas, helping family child care homes serve nutritious and healthy meals to children in their care.

CACFP, a federal nutrition program, promotes high-quality affordable child care by helping care providers to serve nutritious meals and snacks.  It provides reimbursement for food and meal preparation.  Through CACFP, more than three million children each working day receive nutritious meals and snacks each day as part of the day care they receive.  CACFP benefits the children through training of their care givers in nutrition and physical activity at least annually.

Studies show that children in CACFP receive meals that are nutritionally superior to those served to children in child care settings without CACFP.  Children in participating institutions have higher intakes of key nutrients, fewer servings of fats and sweets, than children in non-participating care.  Research cites participation in CACFP as one of the major factors influencing quality care – 87 percent of the family child care homes considered to be providing quality child care participate in CACFP.

CACFP also makes child care and afterschool programs more affordable for low-income parents, who rely on these programs to provide a safe and healthy place for their children.  87 percent of the family child care homes considered to provide good quality care participate in CACFP.  A family child care home must be licensed or registered through the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Licensing Unit to participate in CACFP.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the federal child nutrition reauthorization law) contains some additional improvements to the program by making it easier for parents and providers to participation the program, and by expanding even further CACFP’s promotion of good nutrition and wellness.

White River Planning and Development District (WRPDD) sponsors the CACFP in Northcentral Arkansas, which includes Baxter, Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Marion, Randolph, Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren, White and Woodruff Counties.  “If your family child care home isn’t participating in CACFP, I encourage you to look into this wonderful program.  It is a great thing for children, and it helps provide healthier food for children, ” said Jill Dockins, program director.    If you have questions about the program or about possibly becoming a family child care provider, please contact her at:  800-737-2237.