Children’s HealthWatch Commends the US House Education & Labor Committee for Introducing the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act

Children’s HealthWatch commends the US House Education & Labor Committee for introducing the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act, which reauthorizes child nutrition programs with robust, evidence-based solutions. This proposal strengthens key nutrition programs and increases access to their proven health and economic benefits. Central to improving adequacy and delivery of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the Committee’s proposal would:

  • Extend WIC to age 6 (from the current age of 5) to close the gap between children aging out of WIC before entering school and receiving school meals
  • Increase the certification timeframe for breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, infants, and children to two years
  • Improve access to WIC by decreasing administrative burdens and providing opportunities for telehealth to reduce physical presence requirements
  • Increase breastfeeding supports in WIC
  • Improve access to nutritious foods offered through WIC by expanding online retailers and increasing famers market benefits
  • Provide an additional meal or snack for children in full-day child care
  • Streamline access to CACFP for parents and providers and reduce paperwork and administrative burdens by extending certification periods from six months to one year, and implementing automatic eligibility for SNAP participants
  • Establish an advisory committee to recommend further improvements for reducing administrative burden
  • Offer family child care providers higher reimbursement rates

In addition to investments focused on early childhood nutrition, the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act also makes significant improvements to school and summer meals programs which are evidence-based solutions for reducing food insecurity and improving health. These investments will reduce barriers to enrollment and participation and enable more children and their families to access healthy meals and nutrition. Children’s HealthWatch looks forward to working with Congress to pass these evidence-based program improvements and to take further steps to enhance critically important programs that support family health and food security by responding to households’ needs.