The CACFP Leadership and Policy track at the Anti-Hunger Policy Conference was once again motivating and inspiring this year. We heard from Secretary Vilsack, Senators Stabenow and Boozman, USDA Leadership and experts in the CACFP field. Secretary Vilsack shared the guiding principles of USDA under his leadership which are:
Every five years Congress takes a look at the Act to strengthen and improve it. The last act that was passed during CNR - the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 expired in 2015. Since most of the programs in this bill are permanently authorized, they can continue to function without a new law. This process gives us all an opportunity to educate Congress on what would make the CACFP better! Learn more about CNR and the process here.
Even though a bill hasn't been signed in the last five years, doesn't mean we haven't been working with them. There are marker bills that contain many of the things we've asked for over the years to improve the program. Our CACFP asks are listed below and you can find them in our federal agenda. One of the CACFP "asks" that is new and hasn't been talked about a lot is increasing the age of eligible youth at emergency shelters from 18 to 24. This provision is in the America Rescue Plan.
When you meet with your Representative to educate them about your story in CACFP, you can use this letter or the Food Research and Action Center's leave behind. These are the facts, but the important part is your story and the story of those you work with. As Geri Henchy said when you're talking to your representatives "What did you see? What broke your heart?"
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
CACFP provides healthy meals and snacks that support good nutrition, helps children fully develop, and prepares them to be ready to learn at school. CACFP also provides high-quality, affordable child care that supports parents’ ability to work. Unfortunately, CACFP meals and snacks are out of reach for millions of young children in child care, but the reauthorization bill has the potential to address that problem through the following key improvements: