Nutrition Policy Institute researchers were awarded a $199,786 grant from the California Collaborative for Pandemic Recovery and Readiness Research Program, also known as CPR3. The grant funds a collaborative project with NPI principal investigator Lorrene Ritchie, co-principal investigator Susana Matias from the University of California, Berkeley and the CACFP Roundtable. The project, “Child and Adult Care Food Program: Impacts of COVID-19 Changes to Meal and Snack Reimbursement Rates on Family Childcare Home Providers, Children and Families – Phase 2”, builds on a current project to understand the impact of COVID-19 changes to CACFP reimbursement rates for family child care homes on CACFP participation, food quality, and food security. The one-year project began on July 1, 2023 and includes Kassandra Bacon as project manager, Celeste Felix as data analyst, Reka Vasicsek as research coordinator, Meirong Liao as Administrative Coordinator, Hannah Thompson as statistical consultant, and Ken Hecht as policy advisor. A goal of the CPR3 Program is to generate policy-relevant evidence to improve the health and well-being of California residents in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CPR3 Program is funded by the California Department of Public Health. California Department of Public Health will not be involved in study design, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, manuscript development, or the decision to publish.
A Graduate Student Researcher position is available starting summer 2023 with the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley. The GSR will work with Susana Matias, UC Berkeley cooperative extension nutrition specialist, on a research project focused on the Child and Adult Care Food Program in family child care homes in California. This project is a collaboration with the Nutrition Policy Institute. The position requires strong quantitative research skills, including knowledge of regression and trend analysis, proficiency in SAS and experience working with large, administrative datasets, coursework in epidemiology, public health or nutrition, and statistics. There is a possibility of renewal for the 2023-2024 academic year. This position pays $29.25 per hour. More information and instructions on how to apply are available online. The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy.
Licensed family child care homes (FCCH) provide child care in individual homes, are often located in the same neighborhood as the families they serve and often provide longer hours of care at a lower cost than child care centers. New research shows that a self-paced, online nutrition training for FCCH providers has the potential to make childhood nutrition guidance more accessible and may help bridge a potential regulatory gap: licensed FCCHs in California not currently participating in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program only receive one hour of mandatory nutrition training if licensed after 2016—leaving out nearly 30,000 providers licensed before 2016 who provide care to over 310,000 children—and are not required to offer foods and beverages that meet nutrition standards. The training—available in both English and Spanish and free of cost to California-based providers—consists of four 20-minute interactive models providing guidance on what and how to feed infants and toddlers. Child care providers reported high levels of satisfaction, as well as an intention to make changes in feeding practices, after completing a pilot-test of the online training. Findings also identified a need for culturally relevant information and a live nutrition educator to discuss the training material. The research article was published in the California Agriculture journal and authored by Danielle Lee, Ron Strochlic, and Lorrene Ritchie from the Nutrition Policy Institute, Deepa Srivastava and Marisa Neelon from the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Abbey Alkon and Victoria Keeton from UC, San Francisco and the California Childcare Health Program. The project was funded by a grant from UC ANR.
The federal Child and Adult Care Food Program provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks for over 4.2 million children in the US at participating child care sites. Nutrition Policy Institute researchers collaborated with the CACFP Roundtable to identify benefits of and barriers to participating in the CACFP by independent child care centers and their sponsors. Nearly one-in-three child care centers participating in CACFP across the nation are considered independent centers, meaning they are independently owned and operated, not owned by a corporation and operate at a single physical site. Through focus groups and interviews conducted with 16 independent centers and 5 sponsors of independent centers in California, December 2021 through March 2022, researchers identified several benefits of and barriers to CACFP participation as well several facilitators to support participation. The study also highlighted the important role sponsors play in supporting independent centers to participate in the CACFP. The participating centers and sponsors were geographically diverse, located across all California Department of Social Services-established CACFP administrative regions, from both rural and non-rural settings. Length of CACFP-participation ranged from one to 10 or more years, and one tribal and one government/military independent center also participated in the study. Findings were published in an article in the journal Nutrients as well as a research brief. The study was conducted by Lorrene Ritchie, Danielle Lee, and Christina Hecht from NPI, in collaboration with Elyse Homel Vitale and Samantha Marshall from the CACFP Roundtable, and Lindsay Beck from the University of California, San Francisco, Nutrition & Food Services. The study was funded by the California Department of Social Services.
The federal Child and Adult Care Food Program provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks served to children enrolled for care at participating child care centers and family child care homes. The 31st Annual CACFP Conference in Sacramento, California Oct. 17-19, 2022 will bring together over 500 participants from across the nation to provide training and support to members of the CACFP community. Nutrition Policy Institute researchers present the latest CACFP drinking water recommendations to encourage healthy hydration and new findings on barriers and facilitators to CACFP participation from a qualitative study of California-based independent child care centers and their sponsors. Christina Hecht will co-present an in-person session on Oct. 17, 2:30-3:45 p.m. titled “CACFP: Drinking Water's Friend” with Amanda Dyes, Deborah Gillison-Wilson, and Shelby Beverly from Georgia Nutritional Services, Inc. Danielle Lee will co-present an in-person session on Oct. 19, 10:45-12:00 noon titled “State Differences in CACFP Participation of Center-Based Programs” with Melissa McCann from the University of Connecticut, Rudd Center for Food Policy & Health.