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How can CACFP support family childcare provider participation?

Uncovering barriers to food programs with the Family Child Care Home Provider Experience Survey

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), plays a critical role in supporting the health and wellness of children by reimbursing providers for nutritious meals served to eligible children in their care.

In the last 20 years, however, the number of family childcare homes in CACFP has decreased by 46%. This is concerning because family childcare homes serve a distinct role in the demanding childcare market.

The Family Child Care Home Provider Experience Survey will survey a national sample of family childcare providers about why they participate in the CACFP and why they leave the program. The survey seeks to identify the challenges and barriers faced by family childcare providers participating in CACFP and to gather recommendations to address these issues.

Westat will survey both family childcare providers who discontinued their participation in CACFP (i.e., former participants) and those who are currently participating (i.e., current participants).

We will describe the reasons why family childcare providers stopped participating in the CACFP and gather recommendations on how to better support family childcare providers’ participation in the program.

These data will be used by FNS to inform programmatic changes to reduce the barriers to CACFP participation among family childcare home providers. In addition, the results will also help provide improved technical assistance to family childcare providers and their sponsoring organizations.

Combined, these data aim to help improve participation and retention of family childcare home providers in the CACFP, which in turn will ensure a greater number of children receive access to healthy meals and snacks while in childcare.

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