AFSCME-backed bill would help child care providers with food costs

AFSCME supports a proposal in Congress to ease the financial burden on child care professionals who provide meals and snacks.

Earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania introduced legislation to help providers like family child care homes, child care centers, Head Start programs and after-school programs that feed more than 4.2 million children and receive support from the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

The Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act, which has 13 co-sponsors, makes multiple improvements to increase the reimbursements rates for meals. That will help make sure that millions of children receive nutritious meals and also ease the financial burdens on child care providers and parents struggling to afford child care. More information on the bill is available here.

Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Ohio Rep. Greg Landsman and Oregon Rep. Suzanne Bonamici.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders said the critical shortage of child care workers will worsen unless providers get more federal help to feed kids, which this bill will provide.

“Parents today depend on child care providers to meet essential needs, including proper nutrition, which is expensive,” Saunders said. “The Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act would address this crisis by getting long-overdue increases in reimbursements to providers so they can continue to serve nutritious meals to children. We applaud Sen. Casey for being a leader on this issue and introducing this critical bill.”

According to Casey, the bill would increase the reimbursement rates so that a family child care provider serving seven kids could receive an additional $475 a month or $5,700 a year, and a Head Start program or child care center serving 100 children could receive an additional $600 a month of $7,200 a year.

More than 40 national organizations, including AFSCME, have endorsed the bill. Our union represents tens of thousands of child care workers. Read more about the issues facing child care providers.