Every five years Congress reviews the laws governing the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and if needed, make some important regulatory changes. When the child nutrition programs were last reauthorized in 2010, the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (the bill written into law by President Obama) included some positive changes including new standards for nutrition and a call for paperwork reduction. This year Knowledge Universe leaders are keeping a close eye on the reauthorization work and advocating on behalf of the thousands of children and families around the country who benefit from CACFP – including children in more than 800 KU centers.
In March, members of KU’s Food Program and Government Relations teams headed to Capitol Hill to visit members of Congress. Their goal was simple: bring attention to CACFP and encourage someone to take the lead on drafting a bill for this year’s reauthorization. All told, the team made six visits to the Hill and talked to countless Congressional staff members.
“We shared with them the importance of CACFP, the amazing impact it has on the children in our centers, and how the reimbursement allows us to educate and feed children who would normally not be able to attend a KinderCare center,” said Jodi Kuhn, KU’s director of food programs. “Then we asked for things like a higher reimbursement, reimbursement for an extra meal, more paperwork reduction, and support for technology.”
This isn’t the first time KU leaders advocated on behalf of their young learners. Last year everyone from Dr. Elanna Yalow to parents encouraged Congress to reauthorize the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). The CCDBG is the primary funding source for students who receive government assistance to attend child care centers. Check out the ONE archives for more information on KU’s CCDBG advocacy work.
Since March, Jodi’s had follow-up conversations with staffers from Oregon Senator Bonamici’s office Minnesota Senator Kline’s team about specific topics that may be included in bills.
“We expect to hear more in a few weeks, but we’re hopeful for a strong child nutrition bill, supported by Congress this summer and signed by the President in the fall,” Jodi said.
Stay tuned to ONE for updates about the CACFP reauthorization.