We know that for many children summer brings changes to daily routines formed during the school year, including how children spend their free time and their food and drink choices throughout the day. But licensed child care centers continue to provide a safe, structured environment for children when they are out of school and new regulations took effect this month that codified Senate Bill 45, passed during the 2020 legislative session.

SB 45 ensures all children in Kentucky child care centers have access to healthy food and drinks, physical activity, and limited screen time. The new regulations are in line with the standards outlined in the bill, including:

  • Aligning food and drink requirements with the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal patterns for all child care centers that serve food.
  • Establishing standards for healthy drinks in child care centers to include water, unflavored low- or non-fat milk, and 100% fruit juice.
  • Establishing limits on screen time to 30 minutes per day in half-day programs and 60 minutes per day in full-day programs, and no screen time for children under age 2.
  • Requiring moderate to vigorous active play time for a minimum of 30 minutes per day in half-day programs and 60 minutes per day in full day programs; offering active play outside when weather permits it.
  • Requiring short periods of tummy time each day for infants.

Licensed child care centers that do not already participate in the CACFP program may need to make significant changes to meet the nutrition standards outlined in the new regulations. To help support centers as they make these changes, the Department for Community Based Services’ (DCBS) Division of Child Care and the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute are offering a free training for child care providers to provide technical assistance on regulation changes. Child care providers can learn more and access this free training through the ECE-TRIS portal using their login.

As Kentuckians continue to recover from the pandemic and return to work, child care centers provide an essential support to families across the Commonwealth and a safe space for children to grow, learn, play, and thrive.