New research brief explores perspectives on the Child and Adult Care Food Program’s serious deficiency process

Jun 24, 2024

The federal Child and Adult Care Food Program, commonly known as CACFP, ensures over 4.2 million children, mostly in families with low income, receive nutritious meals and snacks in childcare. However, not all qualifying childcare providers participate in this beneficial program. Research suggests that the serious deficiency process, designed to ensure program integrity, may hinder participation. Interviews with ten California CACFP sponsors—who administer the program for family childcare home providers and some centers—highlight key issues. Sponsors find the process too harsh, disqualifying providers for simple mistakes, creating equity issues for those with limited technology skills or non-English speakers, and being subjective, unclear and time consuming. These findings are timely as the USDA considers improvements. The full research brief, “CACFP Family Childcare Home Sponsor Perspectives - Serious Deficiency Challenges,” was published by the Nutrition Policy Institute, University of California, Berkeley, and the CACFP Roundtable. This research is part of a larger project funded by Healthy Eating Research, and national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

By Danielle Lee
Author - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Lorrene D Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist