Child care centers accounted for 75 percent of meals provided by USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program in fiscal year 2019

This line chart shows meals served in the Child and Adult Care Food Program by type of provider, fiscal years 1980-2019.

In fiscal year (FY) 2019, USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provided about 2 billion subsidized meals to children at child care centers and family day care homes, which accounted for 96 percent of all meals served in the program. Child care centers served 75 percent of CACFP meals in 2019. The program provided an additional 82 million meals to elderly and functionally impaired adults at adult day care centers. The number of CACFP meals served in family day care homes has dropped from a high of 777 million in FY 1996 to 435 million in FY 2019, while the number of meals served in child care centers has grown from 746 million to 1.5 billion over that same time period. USDA’s costs for CACFP in FY 2019 totaled $3.7 billion. Meals and snacks served to CACFP participants must meet USDA nutrition standards to receive Federal reimbursements. Closures of many child and adult care facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic are reflected in fewer CACFP meals served in April 2020 compared with April 2019. Preliminary data from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service record 125 million meals served in April 2020, down from 194 million meals a year earlier. Waivers to program regulations granted by USDA in March 2020 allowed providers to distribute CACFP meals as “grab and go” or via delivery. This chart appears in the Economic Research Service report, The Food Assistance Landscape: Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Report, July 2020.

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