Congressman Landsman, Congresswoman Bonamici Introduce Commonsense Legislation to Increase Funding for Child Care Providers, Improve Child Care Nutrition

Cincinnati, OH – Today, Congressman Greg Landsman (D-OH-01) and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01) introduced commonsense legislation endorsed by more than 40 national organizations to increase funding for child care providers and improve child care nutrition.

Congressman Landsman and Congresswoman Bonamici’s Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act would address financial challenges faced by child care providers across the country who utilize the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) – a key federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that reimburses child care providers for meals and snacks they serve to more than 4.2 million children each day in participating family child care homes, child care centers, Head Start programs, and after school programs.

Child care providers are facing significant financial barriers in operating the Child and Adult Care Food Program owing to insufficient reimbursement rates and outdated policies – issues that further exacerbate the ongoing child care crisis in the country. For example, some family child care providers currently receive as little as 59 cents in reimbursement through the Child and Adult Care Food Program for each breakfast they serve to children in their care. The Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act would increase the reimbursement for that breakfast to $1.75.

Increasing reimbursements is essential to filling the gap between food preparation costs that child care providers incur and the reimbursements they currently receive through the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

In real dollars, the Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act would mean:

  • A family child care provider serving 7 children could receive an additional $475 a month or $5,700 a year in reimbursements
  • A Head Start program or child care center serving 100 children could receive an additional $600 a month or $7,200 a year in reimbursements

To achieve these results, the Child Nutrition Enhancement Act would modify the Child and Adult Care Food Program by:

  • Eliminating a two-tiered reimbursement rate system for family child care providers where reimbursement rates vary depending on the level of local poverty
  • Providing a 10-cent increase – tied to inflation – to existing reimbursement rates for all eligible meals and snacks provided through the program
  • Allowing family child care providers to serve reimbursable meals and snacks to their own children when serving meals and snacks to children in their care

“We are facing a child care crisis in this country, and we need commonsense leadership and solutions to address these challenges,” said Congressman Landsman. “Working with more than 40 national organizations that are dedicated to improving children’s lives and outcomes, we’re putting forward a responsible legislative solution that will invest real dollars that will help child care providers remain open, while improving the meals we serve to children every single day.”

“Child care providers play an essential role in feeding millions of children healthy meals and snacks,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “Unfortunately, outdated policies and the rising cost of food are cutting into the funds child care providers need to stay open and offer quality care. The Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act is a commonsense way to support child care providers as we face a national crisis in care and help more children access healthy foods.”

“The National CACFP Sponsors Association applauds Congressman Greg Landsman and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici for introducing this important legislation supporting the Child and Adult Care Food Program community,” said Lisa Mack, President and CEO of the National CACFP Sponsors Association. “The CACFP is critical for the infrastructure and nutrition security of child and adult care. Eliminating tiering and increasing reimbursement is needed to mitigate the challenges of the increased food and operational costs facing providers and will help combat food insecurity and support small business. Without these changes, providers will likely continue to drop out of the program, close their child care altogether or pass the meal burden on to parents.”

“Rising costs are putting immense pressure on our already strained child care system, leading many providers to consider closing their doors,” said Lee Saunders, President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). “The Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act can ease the burden. The bill will boost funding for essential programs like the Child and Adult Care Food Program, getting providers the investments and reimbursements they need to continue to deliver nutritious meals to our children. Thank you to Congressman Landsman and Congresswoman Bonamici for leading on this crucial legislation to get much-needed relief to our hardworking child care providers and the families they serve.”

“FRAC applauds the introduction of the Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act, introduced by Congressman Landsman and Congresswoman Bonamici,” said Luis Guardia, President of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). “The bill would help strengthen the support provided by the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program to child care centers, homes and Head Start. This would be a game changer for improving nutritional and health outcomes for infants and young children. FRAC urges Congress to pass this bill to ensure that all children, especially in households with low incomes, have access to quality care and nutritious meals and snacks.”

“Child care providers, at risk afterschool programs, adult day health programs, and emergency shelters work hard to provide meals through CACFP,” said Samantha Marshall, Director of Programs and Policy at CACFP Roundtable. “The partial reimbursement is not enough to keep pace with the continued rising cost of food, gas, and labor. We often hear that the meals served in these settings are the only meals the children and adults receive. Eliminating tiering and adding the 10 cents as proposed in this legislation will ensure the nutritional quality of the meals served and create a pathway for increased participation as directors can better justify the program participation in their budgets and family child care providers are less likely to pay out of pocket for the meals served in their care. Thank you, Congressman Landsman and Congresswoman Bonamici, for championing this impactful legislation.”

“The federal Child and Adult Care Food Program is a cornerstone to the child and adult care industries by addressing the nutritional well-being of millions of Americans across the country,” said Reynaldo Green, President of the National CACFP Forum. “The Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act makes a critical step towards strengthening the program by making it more affordable for CACFP operators to serve nutritious, well-balanced meals each day. The Forum thanks Congressman Landsman and Congresswoman Bonamici for their leadership introducing legislation at a time when childcare costs are rising. To support working families and their loved ones, we encourage Congress to pass this bill, which is paramount to the development of infants and young children and the security of elderly adults. This bill is critical to addressing equity within CACFP.”

“Groceries simply cost so much more than the current partial reimbursement, and families and child care providers are struggling to ensure that children are not hungry while in care,” said Alexandra Patterson, Director of Policy and Strategy at Home Grown. The two-tier payment system has been deeply damaging to the field, and contributed to a historic reduction in the number of family child care homes participating in CACFP. Eliminating payment disparities and increasing the subsidy is essential to keeping family child care homes open and addressing the child care crisis. We are thrilled to have Congressman Landsman and Congresswoman Bonamici championing this important change.”

The Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act has been endorsed by 40+ national organizations:

  • Abriendo Puertas
  • All Our Kin
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  • CACFP Roundtable
  • Caring Across Generations
  • Center for Law and Social Policy
  • Child Care Aware of America
  • Child Welfare League of America
  • Children’s Defense Fund
  • Coalition on Human Needs
  • Community Change Action
  • Council of Administrators of Special Education
  • Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children
  • Early Care and Education Consortium
  • Early Learning Ventures
  • Educare Learning Network
  • First Children’s Finance
  • First Focus Campaign for Children
  • Food Research and Action Center
  • Home Grown
  • IDEA Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association
  • KidKare by Minute Menu
  • KinderCare Learning Companies
  • National Association for Family Child Care
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • National Association of Counties
  • National Black Child Development Institute
  • National CACFP Forum
  • National CACFP Sponsors Association
  • National Child Care Association
  • National Education Association
  • National Health Care for the Homeless Council
  • National Women’s Law Center
  • Nurture
  • Opportunities Exchange
  • ParentChild+
  • RESULTS
  • Save the Children
  • School Nutrition Association
  • Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • Start Early
  • ZERO TO THREE

The full text of Congressman Landsman and Congresswoman Bonamici’s Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act can be found here.

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