Participating in the food program is truly a win/win/win situation! The children win because they're eating nutritious meals and snacks; your child care business wins because families looking for child care will appreciate the peace of mind that comes from knowing their children will receive balanced meals (not to mention that they won't have to pack meals and snacks for their kids!); you win because the financial reimbursement helps you with your food expenses, and the nutrition training you receive can benefit your own family as well!
Why it pays to join:
Child care providers and unlicensed care providers sometimes question "Does it make sense for me to join the food program?" The answer is YES. Consider the following:
For more information on how the CACFP can benefit you visit: The Importance of the Child and Adult Care Food Program by Tom Copeland.
Whether you are Tier I or Tier II, or Free, Reduced, or Paid the reimbursement you receive from the food program is extra income even after taxes. Your food costs count as a business expense, so you only pay taxes on the amount of reimbursement that is more than your food expenses. Bottom line: more money coming in will mean additional taxes paid on that additional income, but also more overall profit. This would be true of extra money coming into your household because you raised your rates, your spouse received a raise or you are receiving reimbursement from the food program.
The reimbursement from the food program enables you to purchase high-quality, nutritious food. The guidelines help children receive increased dietary iron and important vitamins A and C, as well as set habits for healthy eating that will last as they grow older. In addition, you will have access to nutrition information, training and support that will not only benefit your child care families, but your own family as well.
Child care studies have shown that the key indicator of a top-quality child care is participation in the food program. Joining the food program will relieve parents of the responsibility for providing meals for their children in child care and reassure them that their children will receive carefully planned, nutritious meals. The reimbursement will not only help you keep your food costs down, but will also enable you to charge competitive rates.