What Parents Should Know About the Benefits of the Child and Adult Care Food Program

The child care facility you have chosen may participate or be eligible to participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The main goal of this program is to insure that children in participating child care centers and family child care homes receive healthful meals and snacks and child care providers receive training in nutrition. Children and providers learn about food and healthy eating.

Nutrition is an important part of good child care and a healthy lifestyle. All children need well-planned meals and snacks that provide a variety of foods and the nutrients needed for good health and energy. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the New York State Department of Health, helps child care providers pay for meals and snacks that meet nutrition requirements for breakfast, lunch or supper, and snacks. A meal pattern outlines the kinds and amounts of food that must be served. Training and educational programs are also offered to child care providers that participate on the CACFP.

Child care facilities on this program:

  • Care about good nutrition for children
  • Plan nutritious meals and snacks
  • Help children learn and feel positive about food and eating

You should also know that:

  1. Your child care provider may ask you to complete certain forms required by CACFP.
  2. Special arrangements can be made for meals and snacks at child care for children with special nutrition needs.
  3. To help manage the program better, you may be contacted at some time and asked about the type and quality of meals that your child receives while in care.
  4. Your caregiver plans menus for meals and snacks and will be glad to show them to you.

Working together, you and your caregivers can help your child establish healthful food habits that will last a lifetime. You may receive other information from your caregiver that will suggest ways you can help your child learn about food and healthy eating. As a parent, you are the most important teacher your child will ever have. By practicing good health habits, including healthy eating, you can give your child a head start on a healthy lifestyle.

If you have questions about the Child and Adult Care Food Program, contact CACFP at 1-800-942-3858.