Child Care Food Program:

Better Management Will Yield Better Nutrition and Fiscal Integrity

CED-80-91: Published: Jun 6, 1980. Publicly Released: Jun 6, 1980.

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The Child Care Food Program was established to improve the nutritional levels of the diet of the Nation's children, primarily preschool children. Food and nutritional regional offices administer the program when State education agencies or other State agencies are unwilling or unable to do so. Public or private nonprofit organizations manage the program locally. Meals are provided by day care centers or in family or group day care homes. The program has grown significantly since its inception in 1969, and participation is expected to increase. GAO visited 98 sponsors and 715 feeding sites in four States during its study of the program's management.

GAO felt improved management of the program is essential if substandard meals, unhealthy feeding site conditions, and questionable financial accountability are to be improved. During the GAO study, delivery of services and financial accountability were found unacceptable. The impact of recent legislation providing for the expansion of the program needs assessment. The management of State and regional program offices needs improvement as a lack of personnel hampers the program administration. Regional oversight must also be improved.

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