Tell me again why I should be in a food program?

I ask myself this at least every couple of months.  I am sure, I am not alone in this, especially if you fall into a Tier II category, and feel you get chump change each month for reimbursement.

First, I feel I need to give some history and explanation as to what I am talking about.  Child and Adult Care Food Program, CACFP. This statement comes directly from the CACFP for family childcare providers.

CACFP provides reimbursement for meals and snacks served to small groups of children receiving nonresidential day care in private homes that are licensed, registered, or approved to provide family childcare.

CACFP targets higher levels of reimbursement to low-income areas, and to day care providers and children most in need. The reimbursements make the cost of day care more affordable for many lower income families.

Health and safety standards, training, and monitoring make CACFP an important component of quality childcare, especially in family day care homes.

What does that mean exactly?  This means if you are licensed, and in good standing, you are eligible to participate in the program. If you fall into an elementary school boundary that is considered low income, you will be reimbursed at a higher rate.  Whether your school qualifies for low-income is determined by census that show more than 50% of the population is considered below poverty standard.

I do believe that it is important to participate in the food program. The money you receive does help with the cost of preparing healthy meals for your childcare children.  The complaint that I have is the way the tier system is set up for family childcare homes.

Healthy nutritious meals for growing children are important at all levels of income.  The argument for the tier system is that it makes child care more affordable for low-income families.  That make no sense to me, I do believe that most of the children that fall into the low-income levels are already getting assistance with their child’s day care fees.  Therefore, the cost of the food should not be a consideration.  As a provider, you can claim children that are low-income, you just have to have the parent fill out an income information form and turn it in and you can be reimbursed at the higher Tier I for that child.  I personally will not, single out my parents, to fill out a form so I can get more money for their child.  I do not give that child any more food than any of the others.  It just does not make sense or seem right to me? These are the irksome issues that I have for the food program.  I know especially when the children get into grade school; the meals that they receive through school could be all they get for the day.  So, do not confuse my arguments about how the reimbursements are set up for the family childcare homes, for the need and necessity of the CACFP.

If you are looking for more information on the food program Tom Copeland’s Book, Record- Keeping Guide will give you so many more good reasons to be in the food program. You can also check out Tom’s Website where he gives great information on Taxes and Food Program. If you need to enroll and do not know where to start, Child Care Aware will direct you to a local sponsor in your area.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Samantha says:

    I definitely understand the frustrations expressed here. I just wanted to point out that the tiering rules have just changed and that the boundaries include middle schools and high schools now too, so it might help qualify more homes for Tier 1. It’s a part of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill. You can learn more about CACFP and the legislative side here http://frac.org/federal-foodnutrition-programs/child-and-adult-care-program/

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  2. Glynis says:

    The people making up these rules need to get some common sense.

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  3. Michelle says:

    In my state (Oregon) they do NOT have you single out a certain family. They send out the income forms to all families, without us handing them out. Another way you can qualify for tier I outside of your school district is with your own income. Of course, even if your schedule c shows low enough income, a spouse’s income may change that, but it’s worth looking at. I definitely don’t miss my old “tier I” neighborhood.

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  4. Misti says:

    The whole thing makes me laugh sometimes. What were they thinking?

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  5. Victoria L says:

    I never understood that either. Why they reimburse me less to feed child A than child B?? It costs me the SAME amount to feed either one. So it is not making day care more affordable for low income families. Day care is already more affordable for them because they get a voucher. The only thing it may do is motivate providers to do is to fill open spots with lower income children that they can recieve higher reimbursements for.

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