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Outside Food in the Centers


NOCAC Child Development is responsible for meeting the nutritional needs and feeding requirements of each child, including those with special dietary needs and children with disabilities.


  1. During the enrollment process, staff will explain to parents that NOCAC Child Development does not allow families to bring in food to the classroom. Only foods that NOCAC Child Development Centers purchase or that are provided by a licensed food vendor is allowed in the centers. Staff will distribute and discuss “Why we ask families not to send in food “treats” to Head Start” during the 1st home visit.
  2. Reasons for this policy and steps staff will take include:
    1. Ensuring Children are Safe
      1. If a child at a center has an allergy, he or she may feel left out if the food brought contains a potential allergen.
      2. Residue or crumbs left by a food may trigger an allergic reaction.
      3. Food bought at a store might not have been stored or refrigerated properly and could cause a food borne illness.
    2. Promoting Healthy Eating Habits
      1. Food served at the Head Start Centers must meet nutrition standards put forth by the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Outside foods may prevent a child from eating a balanced diet during the class day.
      2. NOCAC Head Start sites will limit celebrations that involve food to no more than one time each month. All foods served at these special events must be provided by NOCAC Head Start and meet CACFP nutrition standards.
      3. Staff will teach children that special events can be celebrated in ways that do not involve food.
      4. Fresh fruits and vegetables may be brought in. However, they must be washed in the center before being prepared and served.
  3. Staff and volunteers are permitted to bring food from home for personal consumption only.
    1. Food must be stored out of reach of children
    2. If the Center does not have a designated refrigerator for staff, they are able to use a clearly marked spot in the center refrigerator marked “STAFF FOOD”. This space must be on the bottom shelf to avoid cross contamination.

Forms and Additional Guidance:

This policy complies with the following

Head Start Program Performance Standard:
ODJFS Child Care Manual:
CACFP Regulation:
Caring for Our Children:
Other Sources:


Effective Date: 8/7/17 Reviewed Date: 6/17/22
Approved By Policy Council: 8/7/17 Revision Approved By Policy Council:
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