The National CACFP Forum mobilized, in partnership with our partner organizations, to ensure that policies and procedures would not infringe on children having access to the meals provided by the Child and Adult Care Food Program. There were phone calls with congressional leaders, letters written to branch chiefs and the Undersecretary at USDA, and surveys created – distributed and analyzed.
March 21, 2020 – A joint letter was sent by the National CACFP Forum and the Child Care Food Program Roundtable thanking USDA for waiving the meal service time requirement, congregate feeding requirement and afterschool activity requirements. The Forum and Roundtable provided additional suggestions, many of which, you’ll see were put in place by USDA. Some of these included allowing CACFP sites to offer a mix of congregate and non-congregate meal service models, allow multiple meals to be provided at one time, variations in meal patterns, suspend onsite monitoring and many many more.
March 31, 2020 – The Forum and Roundtable sent a joint letter to Congress providing suggestions to support the vulnerable infrastructure of child care with targeted investment in CACFP.
May 15th – A second letter to USDA asking for extensions of the waivers and assurance that states don’t add extra burdens to the waiver process.
Throughout the summer the Forum made phone calls, sent numerous emails and finally sent a letter to Undersecretary Brandon Lipps informing USDA that CACFP Sponsoring Organizations could not, in good conscious, send their monitors out for in person site visits and that they would be done via telephone or other technological means.
In June, the Forum worked with the Roundtable and the National CACFP Sponsors Association to create, execute and analyze a survey for CACFP Sponsors, to gain data around what we already knew – everyone was struggling. This, however, gave the Forum and our partners data and not just anecdotes to take to Congress and USDA as we advocate on the communities behalf. National Sponsors Association released this report.
August 13th – A second letter to Brandon asking to ensure viability for CACFP sponsors and expand funding.
When the school year began, the Forum and Roundtable, began educating USDA and Congress about misguided interpretations of waivers regarding school age children, virtual learning and which meal service was able to be provided and claimed. USDA was then able to release clarifying guidance on this subject.
September 18, 2020 – National CACFP Forum, FRAC and USDA co-presented “CACFP Policy and Practice Updates During COVID-19” webinar for Child Care Aware of America. It was a national webinar about the impact of COVID on CACFP and provided an in depth look at how COVID is adversely impacting non-profit sponsors all over the nation. It can be viewed here: https://info.childcareaware.org/ty-page-redirect-cacfp-policy-and-practice-updates-during-covid-19
October – listening session with USDA regarding the expansion of P-EBT funds to children under 6.
As the pandemic continues to upend what used to be normal for us, the Forum continues to advocate for the CACFP community. The Forum will continue to educate Congress that the CACFP sponsors need financial aid in the next federal relief package.