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Bill Would Improve Access to Healthy Food for Children in Daycare and Increase Support for Child Care Centers and Sponsoring Organizations

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is joined by 13 of his Democratic colleagues in reintroducing the Access to Healthy Foods for Young Children Act of 2019 (S.2501), legislation to improve one of the Nation’s most important child nutrition programs: the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Every day, CACFP provides healthy, nutritious meals to more than 3 million of our youngest who are in Head Start, Early Head Start and child care programs in both centers and day care homes. CACFP plays a critical role in educating children and families about healthy nutrition and providing resources for at-risk children to eat healthy meals. The Access to Healthy Foods for Young Children Act makes several improvements to CACFP, helping our most vulnerable children get off to a strong and smart start.

 “When children have a healthy start in life, they are better able to learn and grow. We have an obligation to support vulnerable children in accessing nutritious meals, and this legislation is an important step in fulfilling that responsibility,” said Senator Casey.

 "Increasing CACFP participation and increasing the availability of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lower-fat dairy products and healthy beverages for young children in child care are essential for development, health, and obesity prevention. This bill would help millions of children in child care access healthy, nutritious food," said Jim Weill, President, Food Research & Action Center.

 “Feeding PA welcomes the introduction of the Access to Healthy Foods for Young Children Act by Senator Casey, particularly the provisions to streamline burdensome program requirements that impact the ability for children to participate in this critical program.  With nearly half a million children in Pennsylvania facing hunger, this bill will help our food banks increase access to nutritious after school snacks and meals through CACFP and help address the significant meal gap among children in PA,” said Jane Clements-Smith, Executive Director, Feeding Pennsylvania.

 “This bill is important in bringing long overdue and needed attention to CACFP, the often overlooked Child Nutrition Program.  Through its emphasis on reducing administrative burden and on enhancing nutrition, the bill will simplify access and provide great benefit for the development of our country’s youngest children,” said Robert Jones, Director of Government Programs, Nutritional Development Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

 Specifically, the Access to Healthy Foods for Young Children Act of 2019 would:

  • Making it easier for child care providers to participate in the program and serve healthy CACFP meals and snacks;
  • Providing centers and homes the option of serving suppers or a second snack for children who are in care for 8 or more hours a day; and
  • Increasing reimbursements to help with rising healthy food costs, and providing resources to educate child care providers about nutrition.

This bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Murray (D-WA), Leahy (D-VT), Blumenthal (D-CT), Wyden (D-OR), Reed (D-RI), Hirono (D-HI), Sanders (I-VT), Gillibrand (D-NY), Merkley (D-OR), Murphy (D-CT), Menendez (D-NJ), Baldwin (D-WI) and Smith (D-MN).

The Access to Healthy Foods for Young Children Act of 2019 is endorsed by the following organizations:

1,000 Days; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Advocates for Better Children's Diets; All Our Kin; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); American Federation of Teachers; American Psychological Association (APA); Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); Child Care Aware of America; Child Care Food Program Roundtable; Children’s Defense Fund; Coalition on Human Needs; First Five Years Fund; First Focus Campaign for Children; Food Research & Action Center (FRAC); Learning Care Group, Inc.; MomsRising; National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC); National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC); National CACFP Forum; National CACFP Sponsors Association; National Education Association; National WIC Association; National Women’s Law Center; New Covenant Lutheran Church; NORTHWEST NUTRITION SERVICE; RESULTS; Rural coalition/NLFRTA; Service Employees International Union; UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity; ZERO TO THREE; Pinnacle Prevention; Alameda County Community Food Bank; California Association of Food Banks; California Food Policy Advocates; CocoKids; Second Harvest of Silicon Valley; Hunger Free Colorado; End Hunger Connecticut!; D.C. Hunger Solutions; Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families; Fort Valley State University Head Start; St Vincent de Paul North Idaho, CACFP; Michelles Home Daycare; Melanie Joan Hamel daycare; Elna's Angels Daycare; Kids Unlimited Services,INC.; Seven Hills Foundation; Maryland Hunger Solutions; Center for Civil Justice; Minnesota Child Care Association; New Horizon Academy; Missoula Food Bank & Community Center; Montana Food Bank Network; Dare County Department of Health and Human Services; Provider's Network, Inc.; Merrimack Valley Day Care Service; Mi Casita Day Care Center, Inc.; New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc.; Agri-Cultura Cooperative Network/ La Cosecha CSA; NM Alliance of Health Councils; NM Food and Agriculture Policy Council; The Food Depot; Tribal Entities Connect; Church Women United in New York State; First Friends Preschool and Daycare; Food Bank of the Southern Tier; Group Family Daycare; Hunger Solutions New York; J Leonard's Group Family Daycare; Mother's Care Day Care & Pre-K; Voice/csea; HLWM; Kings Local Food Pantry; Nutrition First (Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action); Oregon Food Bank; Feeding Pennsylvania; Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger; Just Harvest; Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania; Nutritional Development Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia; Philabundance; Philadelphia Department of Public Health; United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania; Rhode Island Community Food Bank; Tennessee Justice Center; Center for Public Policy Priorities; Hummingbird Child & Adult Nutrition; Sam Houston State University Dietetics; Alliance for Children; Ashton Day Care LLC; Blue Ridge Area Food Bank; Virginia Poverty Law Center; Northwest Harvest; Washington Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition; Kids Forward; Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice; and Community Resources, Inc.

Read more about the Access to Healthy Foods for Young Children Act of 2019 here.