New policy brief to inform California’s SB 1481 shows how the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program fills nutrition gaps for preschoolers

May 17, 2022

The federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides balanced and nutritious meals to nearly 800,000 California preschoolers each day. Research conducted by the University of California Nutrition Policy Institute shows that CACFP-participating childcare sites offer better quality meals compared to sites that do not participate. The CACFP can also reduce family food insecurity. California Senate Bill 1481 (Becker)—Food with Care—would establish a free daily meal program for children in childcare centers and homes that participate in CACFP, while also ensuring adequate and fair pay for child care providers. The bill is co-sponsored by CACFP Roundtable and Nourish CA. A new NPI policy brief synthesizes research showing the need for increased access to healthy food for preschool-aged children in California, citing inadequate access to healthy food contributing to increased risks of children's developing poor health outcomes such as overweight, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver disease, and other health and psychological issues. These health issues can cost California over $71 billion dollars annually.

By Danielle L. Lee
Author - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Kenneth Hecht
Contributor - UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute Coordinator
By Christina A Hecht
Contributor - UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute Academic Coordinator
By Lorrene Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist