Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today introduced new legislation that would improve nutrition for more than 3 million young children nationwide. The Access To Nutritious Meals For Young Children Act would improve the quality of federally funded meals at day care and Head Start programs and expand eligibility to provide access to thousands more children. This is a key part of Senator Gillibrand’s comprehensive agenda to improve childhood nutrition.
“Good nutrition is vital for all children, particularly infants and young children at a critical point in their development,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “If our children are going to have the opportunity to reach their full potential, they need a healthy start. This legislation would increase the quality and access of school meals for our youngest children. I will continue to fight in the Senate to overhaul child nutrition standards and make sure New York children have access healthy foods at school.”
The Access To Nutritious Meals For Young Children Act would strengthen the Child And Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), a program funded by the Child Nutrition Act, which provides meals to children enrolled in Head Start, Early Head Start and child care programs in both day care centers and family child care homes.
Currently, CACFP reimburses providers for up to two meals and one snack per day. Senator Gillibrand’s legislation would expand the program to allow three meals and one snack each day.
Currently, the program is only available in areas where 50 percent of the population is low-income. Senator Gillibrand’s proposals would expand the program to areas where 40 percent of the population is low-income.
Senator Gillibrand is the first New York Senator in nearly 40 years to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee. In her time in the Senate, Senator Gillibrand has established herself as a leader in efforts to combat childhood obesity and promote healthy nutrition for children and families. She has launched a comprehensive strategy to improve the quality of school lunches, eliminate junk food from our schools, and provide more physical exercise opportunities to school age children.