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CACFP Child Care Wellness Grant Program

USDA Child Care Wellness Grants

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Texas was one of 14 states awarded grant funding from USDA for projects aimed at improving the health and nutrition of children in child care settings. This grant established the Texas CACFP Child Care Wellness Grant Program which funded Farm to Child Care (FTC) and Breastfeeding Supportive Child Care Practices (BSC) projects in CACFP child care centers and day care homes across the state. There were 45 awards — 30 FTC and 15 BSC — made for the grant period from September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2013. To learn more about the FTC grant recipients click here. For more information about the recipients of the BSC grants click here. A list of the 2011-2012 recipients is available here.

Farm to Child Care

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Little Boy GardenerThe FTC grant projects create connections between local farmers, their fresh produce and the children in the child care setting. FTC grants establish a direct purchasing relationship with a local produce grower to integrate more fresh fruits and vegetables into meals and snacks.

 

FTC funds can be used to create a farm-direct program and sustain it through a variety of resources and activities:

  • information on local food sources
  • staff training
  • equipment to store and prepare food
  • field trips to farms and urban gardens   
  • materials to grow a vegetable garden  
  • fruits and vegetables for taste tests
  • improved nutrition education through books, lesson plans and activity sheets
  • program promotional materials
  • materials for cooking demonstrations

 

Through the FTC program, children are provided an environment in which choosing healthy foods is an easier, preferred choice, and the invaluable lessons they learn and experiences they have with local food can stay with them as they grow beyond the child care setting.

Breastfeeding Supportive Child Care Practices

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Woman and Baby

The BSC grant projects increase support for breastfeeding mothers through enhancing child care practices and policies. BSC funds are used in a variety of ways to create a culturally appropriate breastfeeding environment: 

  • private accommodations to express milk
  • refrigerated storage for breast milk
  • training on storage and handling of breast milk
  • infant care plans with staff and family
  • staff training on bottle feeding breastfed babies
  • informational handouts and breastfeeding signage
  • resources for best practices and policy information
  • equipment to support nursing mothers and breastfed babies

 

Through the BSC program, mothers and families are provided an environment where breastfeeding is normal, respected and convenient, and where infant health is protected through ready access to their mother’s milk.  

FTC and BSC grant recipients used a portion of their funds to improve access to the Healthy Child Care Network (HCN). HCN funds allowed for the purchase or upgrade of software, hardware, Internet capabilities and other technological services necessary to improve child care providers' access to the network. The HCN is a way to stay informed, access training and connect to other CACFP providers. As the program develops, all CACFP providers will be encouraged to participate in this network. 

More Information

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If you have questions regarding the CACFP Child Care Wellness Program, please contact Food and Nutrition Grant Project Specialist Lillianne Goeders at (512) 463-6287 or email CACFPWellness@Texasagriculture.gov.
© 2017 Texas Department of Agriculture