It's a holiday miracle!!
Congressional leaders released a COVID-19 relief package today that is expected to pass both chambers, funding the government though the end of the fiscal year and providing relief to a coronavirus-battered economy. Specifically, it makes an immediate and essential downpayment on nutrition and other critical assistance for tens of millions of people across the country whose lives have been upended by the pandemic.
The bill includes $13 billion in increased SNAP and child nutrition benefits to help relieve the COVID hunger crisis. For CACFP, support for child care providers and sponsors will come by replacing 55 percent of the total reimbursement funding lost for each claiming month from April 2020 to June 2020 plus half of March 2020.
For many months, the CCFP Roundtable and the National CACFP Forum have jointly advocated this proposal. Emergency funding to CACFP sponsors, centers, homes, and afterschool programs is desperately needed to help cover deficits in operating-cost that have been created by shutdowns, as well as a shift in services, that occurred during the pandemic. This important provision in the relief package will be crucial to maintaining the infrastructure and financial viability of program operators and administrators. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CACFP meal reimbursements have decreased significantly. Based on Food Research & Action Center’s (FRAC) analysis of the most recent USDA data available, child care providers received $92.0 million fewer dollars (-29.4 percent) in April 2020 compared to April 2019.
Child care providers and sponsors are losing reimbursements that are needed to support fixed costs; this loss contributes to deficits in already overburdened child care budgets and compounds instability in the infrastructure for providing child care in the U.S. In June 2020, we conducted a survey of CACFP sponsors; with over 1,200 respondents the need for emergency funding is clear. For family child care sponsors, the decline in claimed homes averaged 27%. For the same time period, center sponsors reported a 72% decrease in participating centers claiming. The sudden decrease of claiming providers creates a stark financial burden for CACFP sponsors with the loss of administrative funds. The loss of these funds jeopardizes sponsors' ability to keep their staff on board and their doors open. The greatest need cited by CACFP sponsors to assist with recovery during the pandemic was financial.
Stayed tuned for more information!