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Heflin study on CACFP and food insecurity published in Social Services Review

Feb 28, 2015

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Food Insecurity

Colleen Heflin, Irma Arteaga & Sara Gable

Social Services Review, February 2015

Colleen Heflin

Colleen Heflin

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides cash reimbursement to family day care, child-care centers, homeless shelters, and after-school programs for meals and snacks served to children. Despite young children’s known vulnerability to fluctuations in nutritional intake, prior literature has largely neglected the contributions of the CACFP to reducing household food insecurity.

Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), the authors examine the association between CACFP provider participation and food insecurity, controlling for the nonrandom selection process into child-care centers that participate in CACFP. The authors find that accessing child care through providers that participate in the CACFP results in a small reduction in the risk of household food insecurity. Given the known cognitive and health consequences associated with food insecurity during early childhood, the authors' results indicate the importance of improving access to the CACFP.