Reynaldo Green Testifies at House Committee Roundtable Exploring How Schools Can Help in Ending Hunger and Improving Nutrition
"Last week, the National CACFP Forum's President, Reynaldo Green, testified at Chairman McGovern's "roundtable examining the role schools play in ending Hunger and improving nutrition." The purpose of this roundtable is to highlight food insecurity and consider what steps Congress and the Biden Administration can take to address hunger in America.
Green (minute 14) spoke about the importance of improving CACFP through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act (CNR). He highlights the need for CACFP participation, how it helps children's well being with consumption of nutritious meals while in child care and boosting quality in child care settings. Green also points out that there are "thousands of child care providers that do not participate in CACFP due to systemic barriers." He shares recommendations for CACFP improvement through the CNR. Later in the Roundtable, Green, shares that as much as schools need facility equipment grants, so do child care providers in centers and homes. He also talks about the great impact the CACFP has on children in pre-k making good choices in school and ties it together with farm to early childhood and education programs.
He talks about the flexibilities provided by the pandemic for non-congregate feeding - what worked, what didn't and how we can continue to look at policies to improve access to healthy and appropriate food to children.
In closing he talks about school district and child care collaboration. He then passionately speaks on behalf of child care providers by telling a child care provider story of feeding children as her own personal mission - with no reimbursement. Green tells the committee that providers need to be rewarded for the good work they do and the meals they serve, that they need to be reimbursed for the extra meal served.
Watch this very important discussion and Reynaldo Green represent the CACFP community and share the critical role the program plays in alleviating food insecurity and improving healthy child development.
Note: each link above will begin the recording approximately when Reynaldo speaks about that topic.
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) has created a toolkit to help sponsors and other agencies that support family child care encourage family child care providers to enroll in the food program and receive almost double the reimbursement than if they came on the program at the lower reimbursement rate. It comes with many tools but one of the best parts is that the flyers and social shares can be easily customizable because they are in Powerpoint! Sponsoring organizations can insert their logo and contact information directly to the item! The toolkit includes customizable social media graphics and content, emails, flyers, and a model press release.
It is called the Communications Toolkit: Maximizing the CACFP Area Eligibility Waiver for Family Child Care Homes, click here to get these useful resources.
Reminder of why all family child care providers are reimbursed at the highest rate until June 30, 2022.
USDA Memo SP-2021, CACFP 16-2021, Child Nutrition Emergency Operational Cost Reimbursement Programs: Q&As #3
On August 11, 2021, USDA released Memo SP 20-2021, CACFP 16-2021, Child Nutrition Emergency Operational Cost Reimbursement Programs: Q&As #3.
This memorandum includes questions and answers intended to provide clarification to state agencies as they implement the Child Nutrition Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement Programs. This set of Q&As addresses questions regarding assurance statements, program operator eligibility, financial management, reporting, and monitoring and operations." (Child Nutrition Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement Programs: Q&As #3).
Click here for the Memo.
The Child Nutrition Reauthorization process continues to move forward (albeit a bit more slowly that originally expected) with House Committee on Education & Labor Hearing, Food for Thought: Examining Federal Nutrition Programs for Young Children and Infants. This hearing focused specifically on the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Advocates and experienced programmatic individuals testified during a virtual hearing about the value and importance of these programs as well as providing recommendations for improvement.
The expert who testified on behalf of CACFP was a registered dietician, Theresa Turner, Nutrition Specialist for Child Youth Services, US Army and the President of the Maryland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her testimony emphasized the impact of the program on the children in her centers, the financial difficulty throughout COVID, the need for an extra reimbursable meal and reducing the burden of unnecessary paperwork. Her testimony begins at minute 20:00.
Representative Bonameci also spoke about the importance of the additional reimbursable meal, leveraging technology and reducing the burden and barrier of paperwork in CACFP. She also spoke about the pending reintroduction of her bill the "Early Childhood Nutrition Improvement Act H.R. 1332" which previously enjoyed bipartisan support. Representative Bonameci mentioned this bill includes an additional reimbursable meal, supports for paperwork reduction and more. She talks about it at minute 40:38. You can also learn more about the bill when it was originally introduced in 2017 and hear her speak about it at our CACFP 50th Birthday Reception with Congress here.
NOW is the time to make CACFP more than an acronym that's hard to say! Join the National CACFP Forum, the CACFP Roundtable and our partners in the the CACFP Kid Ambassador Campaign. Get all of the information you need to know here!
Join the National CACFP Forum and the CACFP Roundtable for the CACFP Kid Ambassador Campaign. Together, we can lift up the voice of CACFP children. They can share with Congress and the community at large what CACFP means to them!
What is it?
An advocacy campaign to show congress the impact the CACFP has on children in child care and out of school.
Why participate? We need to take a complicated program and make it real for our congressional leaders as they consider making changes to improve and invest in CACFP.
What to do?
The hearing, End Child Hunger: Priorities for Child Nutrition Reauthorization, was held to discuss Child Nutrition Reauthorization held by the House Committee on Education & Labor. There was rich discussion around the importance of universal healthy meals for school age children. Unfortunately, there was not a discussion around healthy meals in child care or CACFP in particular. The good thing is that Chairwoman Bonameci is a champion of CACFP and has previously introduced bi-partisan legislation that supports an improved CACFP. You can listen to her and Representative Stefanik talk about the value of CACFP and the work you do to ensure children and adults receive healthy meals in CACFP programs.
There's more time for advocacy and education from the CACFP community to your congressmembers! If you haven't already you can:
More hearings will be held in both the Senate and House as CNR moves forward. The National CACFP Forum will keep you up to date.
On June 11th, USDA issued Questions and Answers for Child Nutrition Program Operations in School Year 2021-2022 to clarify questions that arose after the suite of nationwide waivers published in April. These waivers are to address the complexities of feeding children in school and child care as we recover, in different ways, from the pandemic. Be sure to read what the Q&A actually says for the questions below. Has your state applied for the waivers?
As we gear up to share the CACFP story with our congressional leaders heading into the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act, we thought we'd share some fact sheets and reports to help you do that.
A Little Background
Every 5 years congress takes a look at child nutrition programs and determines how they can be better. With the help of advocates like the Forum, FRAC, the CACFP Roundtable and your individual voices - they do things like end block claiming in 2010. This year, it's looking really positive that through the CNR, the CACFP community could get a big win such as allowing an additional meal. The Senate Bill has been introduced which is Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Act. This has in it the extra meal, reducing paperwork and increasing access to the program through different eligibility changes. Tell your members of congress that they should support this bill. All you have to do is fill out this quick form. There is an expectation to have a bill from the house that is similarly good for the food program. Filling out this form is one way to get your congressional leaders attention. Another is to tell your CACFP Story.
Tell the CACFP Story
Another way to get your congressional members attention is to have a meeting with their office - or several - and share with them your experiences. We know that can be kind of scary sometimes so here are some resources that my help you tell the CACFP story with facts and numbers pulled from other reports and fact sheets. Here are some to get you started:
More to Come
We will be providing further resources for you to tell your CACFP Story for CNR and the future! Stay Tuned.
On April 19th, USDA published a Q&A regarding "Child Nutrition Program Oversight, Administration, and Reporting During COVID-19."
The Q&A addresses reviews and reporting for child nutrition programs broadly and then in particular. Broadly the Q&A answers the following questions:
Spoiler Alert: The short answer is no.
Read the memo here.
Cross-post: CACFP Roundtable