This article focuses on an understudied food subsidy program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), examining whether it reaches low-income children and whether children who receive CACFP differ from those who do not receive it. Data come from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, which provides a representative sample of preschoolers and their providers. This study finds that CACFP eligibility rules exclude many low-income children from participation, especially children residing in high-income areas. In multivariate models, greater socioeconomic disadvantage among low-income children is correlated with greater chances of receiving CACFP; the perception that there are few local care choices is found to diminish participation. Characteristics of CACFP-participating providers suggest that standard transaction costs, administrative burdens, and information networks all affect take-up of CACFP. The study concludes by discussing the implications of the findings, especially in relation to other food and child-care subsidy programs. (author abstract)
The Child and Adult Care Food Program: Who is served and why?
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