March 23, 2017

Since 2011, child care centers and day care homes participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) have been required by law to make potable (safe) drinking water available to children throughout the day, when they ask for it. What a victory!  

And now there’s even better news: starting October 1, 2017, the centers and homes must also offer water to children at different times during the day. A 2016 memo from the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) expanded the “make available” requirements to “make available and offer,” to reach those very young children who can’t ask for water, or may not know how to ask for it.  

What this Means:

  • Offer water using visual cues such as a cup or pitcher while verbally offering water to children.

  • Milk must be served as part of a reimbursable meal, but water may also be placed on the table.

  • Water must be available during meal times, but not necessarily served as part of the meal.

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