Happy Healthy Childhoods - Child Care Blog

Happy Healthy Childhoods

Child Care Blog

How Our Child Care Food Program Keeps Your Kids Healthy

Posted by Beth Lobdell On March 1st

Children at Harlem Academy Participate in the Child Care Food Program

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, then you know that we primarily talk about fun things to do in Southwest Florida with your children.

But one of the other services that we provide is ensuring that your child is fed well. 

Take a local mom named Kesha for example. When she delivers her six year old daughter to her neighborhood family child care home each weekday, she knows that her daughter, Alexa will be well fed.

There will be breakfast waiting for her followed later that day by lunch and an afternoon snack. And it will all be wholesome, nutritious food that meets USDA guidelines.

Children at the Community Childrens Center participate in the Child Care Food ProgramThat’s because Alexa’s family child care home participates in the Child Care Food Program, a federally-funded initiative that reimburses eligible child care centers and family child care homes for their food costs.

Child Care of Southwest Florida administers the program, which now includes 78 child care centers and 160 family child care homes in 14 counties from Polk County to Collier County on Florida’s west coast and from Port St. Lucie to Indian River County on Florida’s east coast.

About 6,200 children are fed every day because of the program, which enables child care centers and family child care homes to buy a broader variety and higher quality food than they could afford without the reimbursement.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Family child care homes must:

  • Be licensed by the State of Florida and have at least one unrelated child in your care.
  • Serve meals that meet USDA guidelines, keep accurate records, and submit them monthly to Child Care of Southwest Florida.

Child Care Centers must:

  • Be licensed by the appropriate child care licensing authority or be legally exempt from such licensure.
    • Be public or private nonprofit organizations.
    • 12 Nutrition Hints and Tips for Your ChildrenBe for-profit organizations whose enrollment or licensed capacity consists of at least 25% low-income children meeting specific criteria.

Child Care of Southwest Florida staff helps eligible centers and family child care homes develop menus, which must be submitted every four weeks.

The average reimbursement is $3,500 per center, which covers nearly all of the food costs of most centers.

For more information about the Child Care Food program, call Beth Goldberg at 239-278-1002.

For 12 tips on keeping your kids healthy through nutrition, download a copy of our free eBook. →

-Beth L.

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