CACFP Sponsor and Provider Characteristics Study

CACFP Characteristics Study Image

Ever wonder what “the average” CACFP sponsor looks like? If so, your wait is over. The USDA conducted a study of CACFP sponsor and providers in FY2015 and the results were recently published. Here are some interesting take-aways from the report:
  • There are 21,055 sponsors of child care centers and home and 178,061 child care providers across the country.
  • From 2010 to 2015, the number of afterschool programs participating in CACFP almost doubled from 8,000 to 18,500!
  • 4.1 million children receive the benefits of nutritious meals from programs participating in the CACFP.

The mission of My Food Program is to simplify the CACFP and SFSP through software. Therefore, we were especially interested in learning about the administrative burden and recordkeeping requirements as well as the technology hurdles that CACFP sponsors face. Here’s what we learned:

  • Almost all participating centers have access to the Internet (97.5% of independent centers, 95.3% of sponsored centers, and 99.4% of Head Start centers) and 86.0% of family day care home providers have internet access! This makes the use of electronic recordkeeping a viable option for most sponsors.
  • Only 50% of child care centers are using electronic recordkeeping compared to over 80% of home providers.
  • Over 20% of CACFP sponsors rate the administrative burden of participating in the program at “High” or “Very High”.
  • Less than 25% of afterschool sponsors are using the forms provided by the state agency. We interpret that to mean that the forms aren’t meeting their needs – recordkeeping isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
  • Nearly all (97.7%) public-sector afterschool sponsors suggested making improvements in management software and the CACFP online program.

Do these findings ring true to you? Share your story in the comments!