By Katie Hinerman Klug, Marketing Communications Specialist Rebecca has been a family child care provider enrolled with Catholic Charities West Virginia’s (CCWVa) Child Care Food Program since 2017. Family child care occurs in a home with a family environment and a smaller number of children than a daycare or child care center. “Home-based programs like family child care provide a consistent caregiver for a child and may offer flexible hours when parents need care in the evenings or weekends,” said Jane Rose, CCWVa Child Care Food Program Director. “Families with multiple children also like this type of setting because siblings are cared for together rather than separated into different age groups.” Rebecca has a state issued license to provide care for six children at once, and she has 20 children enrolled in her family child care. These children are in care during different times of the day and on different days of the week. The CCWVa Child Care Food Program assists in-home child care providers like Rebecca with serving healthy, fulfilling meals to the children in their care. The program also educates and assists caregivers in meal planning and application for meal cost reimbursements through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child and Adult Care Food Program. “The Child Care Food Program offers a two-tiered reimbursement for meals and snacks provided to children in care,” said Rose. “A child care provider may claim reimbursement for two meals and one snack per child for each day of care.” In order to receive this reimbursement, providers must agree to serve healthy meals and snacks to children in care. These meals have requirements that include whole-grain rich items, more vegetables and fruits, lean meats, low-fat dairy options and less sugar. Rebecca said that this program has been a blessing to her. It gives her the opportunity to provide a nutritious variety of foods that would be limited if she paid out of pocket to feed the children. After Rebecca overcame some medical issues of her own, she realized how dietary choices can have a major impact on a person’s health. With a renewed focus on serving healthy meals, Rebecca said she feels good knowing that the nutritional meals and education she provides for the children in her care are “sowing the seeds that might save lives someday.” “Research shows providers participating in a program like ours offer more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats than providers who do not,” said Rose. “Research also shows that children who receive high quality meals are less likely to be tired and to experience illness.” The CCWVa Child Care Food Program helps share a positive attitude about healthy foods that will leave a lasting impression on child care providers and children in West Virginia.