Policy Memo 136

DOH-CACFP: Number 136 (11/09)

TO: All CACFP Sponsoring Organizations of Day Care Homes

FROM: Lynne Oudekerk, Acting State Director, Child and Adult Care Food Program

SUBJECT: Delayed Enforcement of Healthy Meal Patterns

I. Purpose and Scope

CACFP recently issued the Healthy Child Meal (CACFP-102) and the Healthy Infant Meal (CACFP-103) patterns to reflect the important role that CACFP-participating child care programs play in serving healthy foods. Memoranda DOH-CACFP 132H (5/09) and 131H (5/09) stated that beginning January 1, 2010, all meals must meet the Healthy Child and Healthy Infant Meal Patterns in order to be eligible for meal reimbursement.

CACFP recognizes the need to allow more time for Sponsors of day care homes to train and encourage providers to meet the conditions of the Healthy Meal Patterns. Therefore, enforcement of meal disallowances for not complying with the Healthy Meal Patterns is delayed until further notice.

II. Background Information

CACFP continues to believe that the Healthy Child Meal Pattern will improve meals served to young children by ensuring that children in CACFP-participating child care settings are offered a variety of nutritious meals and snacks. The changes in the Healthy Meal Patterns are based on research that shows the importance of supplying healthful meals to infants and children in child care.

Although disallowances for not meeting the requirements in the Healthy Meal Patterns are not being implemented at this time, there are a number of actions Sponsors should take to begin to coach providers into compliance. These actions include:

  1. Provide consistent feedback to providers when their menus do not meet the Healthy Meal Patterns. Sample menu feedback forms are attached for this purpose. Sponsors may develop their own menu feedback form to meet their specific needs.
  2. Evaluate provider's compliance with the Healthy Meal Pattern during monitoring visits and give and document suggestions for improving menus on the Provider Monitoring Form (DOH-4118).
  3. Demonstrate how to easily plan and prepare meals and snacks that comply with the Healthy Meal Patterns during workshops. Note: this training is an allowable expense.
  4. Implement sponsor-specific policies to enforce all or part of the Healthy Meal Patterns. Remember that additional requirements established by sponsor policies must be reviewed and approved by CACFP prior to implementation.
  5. Consider implementing aspects of the Healthy Meal Patterns through a combination of policies, training and feedback on menus. For example, your sponsorship can begin by issuing a policy requiring providers to specify the type of milk served on their menus. Next, you could require low fat or fat-free milk for children 2 years of age and older. Finally, you could eliminate flavored milk as an allowable component on provider's menus. Remember that additional requirements established by sponsor policies must be reviewed and approved by CACFP prior to implementation.

III. Summary of Changes

CACFP created the Healthy Child Meal Pattern to reflect menu improvements associated with a decreased risk of overweight, obesity, and chronic disease. The original enforcement date of January 1, 2010 has been delayed until further notice. CACFP programs must begin to implement the new meal patterns with day care home providers and prepare them for future enforcement.

As a reminder, meals missing required components must still be disallowed.

If you have any questions, please contact a CACFP Homes Unit nutritionist at 1-800-942-3858, ext. 27104.