A new study from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health studied the implementation of the Child and Adult Care Food Program’s new nutrition standards in Boston Family Child Care Homes, and found that the majority of these providers did not receive training or technical assistance regarding these updated standards, and few had knowledge of what the standards entailed.
In 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Food Program’s (CACFP’s) nutrition standards were updated to improve nutrition and meal quality while remaining feasible for child care providers to implement. Since more than 1 million children in the United States attend state-licensed family child care homes, these updated standards can help children develop healthy habits early on and prevent excess weight gain.
The authors looked specifically at the experiences of family child care home (FCCH) providers that participated in CACFP and served three- to five-years-olds in Boston, Massachusetts. To examine this, they conducted a pre–post study of thirteen FCCH providers with data collection occurring before the effective date of the new nutrition standards (October 1, 2017) and then one year later during the fall of 2018. Surveys were used to ask FCCH providers about the training and technical assistance opportunities received at each time point. FCCH providers were also prompted to indicate if they were aware of the new nutrition standards and if they knew what was included in the standards.
Key findings from the study included:
- In Fall 2017 (before the effective date of the new nutrition standards)
- Most FCCH providers in Boston were aware of the CACFP revisions
- Few FCCH providers received training or technical assistance for the new standards, and all of those who had received support had gotten it from their sponsor
- Few FCCH had knowledge of what the new standards entailed
- In Fall 2018 (one year following the effective date of the new nutrition standards)
- FCCH providers’ receipt of training or technical assistance for the new standards remained low
- FCCH providers indicated an interest in various types of support for implementing the new standards
- FCCH providers’ knowledge of what the new standards entailed remained low
- FCCH provider-reported knowledge of the whole-grain standard improved over time
Training and technical assistance opportunities that address gaps in knowledge about the new CACFP standards may be needed to assist FCCHs with their implementation of the standards.
Poole MK, Cradock AL, Kenney EL. Implementing the New Child and Adult Care Food Program’s Nutrition Standards in Boston. Prev Chronic Dis 2020;17:190426. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd17.190426
Address correspondence to Mary Kathryn Poole, MPH, firstname.lastname@example.org