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Letter to Day Care Home Providers

Letter Head: Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education

March 21, 2012

Dear Child and Adult Care Food Program Day Care Home Providers:

The California Department of Education (CDE), Nutrition Services Division (NSD), is pleased to provide resources to help you implement Assembly Bill (AB) 2084 (Brownley), Chapter 593, Statutes of 2010. This new law, which went into effect on January 1, 2012, requires that all licensed child care facilities provide only healthy beverages, including water, during meals and snacks, and that drinking water be available throughout the day.

This is an exciting opportunity! By making the simple adjustments that AB 2084 requires you can help prevent childhood obesity and support the development of healthy beverage habits and taste preferences from the earliest years.

The intent of this law closely aligns with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Team California for Healthy Kids campaign goal of increasing children’s access to water. AB 2084 also is consistent with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move!—Child Care initiative.

New State Beverage Guidelines

The new statute establishes nutrition guidelines for beverages served in child care facilities. These guidelines align with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This new law affects all licensed child care facilities and requires Child Care Centers and Day Care Home providers to comply with the following beverage provisions as of January 1, 2012:

  • Offer only one percent unflavored or fat-free milk to children two years of age or older
  • Limit juice to not more than one serving per day of 100 percent juice
  • Prohibit beverages with added sweeteners, either natural or artificial—this does not include infant formula or complete balanced nutritional products designed for children
  • Make clean and safe drinking water readily available throughout the day, including at all meal, snack, and play times

The law provides the following exceptions:

  • If a child has a medical necessity documented by a physician that includes the need for “medical food” as defined by Section 109971 of the Health and Safety Code, a licensed child care facility shall be exempt from complying with the beverage requirements to the extent necessary to meet the medical needs of that child.
  • This section shall not apply to beverages at a licensed child care facility that are provided by a parent or legal guardian for his or her child.

The California Department of Social Services will determine compliance with this law during regularly scheduled, authorized inspections, and will not conduct separate and independent visits.

Web Resources to Help Implement New State Beverage Guidelines
  • Team California for Healthy Kids Resources: Get more ideas to improve the health of the children. You can find fact sheets and more on the California Department of Education Web site at http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/tchk.asp.
  • California Food Policy Advocates: The new Healthy Beverages in Childcare Web site (coming soon!) explains why beverages in child care matter and provides links to materials and best practices for improving the nutritional quality of food and beverages served to children.

You can access the Healthy Beverages in Childcare Web site at http://www.HealthyBeveragesinChildcare.org.

As a child care provider, you are in a special and unique position to teach young children healthy, life-long eating and drinking habits. Your efforts in providing only healthy beverages will help California’s young children grow fit and ready to learn. 

If you have questions, please contact your Day Care Home sponsor.

Sincerely,

Laurie Pennings, MS, RD, Manager
Nutrition Services Division
California Department of Education

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