A new online resource and bespoke training programme gives carers insight, knowledge and skills to support better food and nutrition for children in care.
'Food in Care' is a resource designed to assist Children in Care (CiC) and young people and their carers to lead healthier lifestyles. 'Food in Care' was developed as evidence shows that CiC experience worse health outcomes than their peers outside of the care system.
The Food in Care programme comprises two elements:
Food in Care Resource
The new online resource 'Food in Care' provides a detailed insight into the need of CiC, including a range of food behaviour challenges that might arise. It was launched in Liverpool in July 2016, made possible through funding received from the Big Lottery Fund - Awards for All and British Heart Foundation.
The resource provides advice on nutrition, healthy weight, special diets and food behaviours, it is aimed at supporting carers and other professionals to provide a healthy environment for CiC. The resource is free to download and we hope it will assist those looking after CiC in providing a supportive, nurturing environment.
Food in Care Training
The 'Food in Care' training programme has been developed to improve the direct care experience for CiC. The programme encourages carers to explore food in the context of physical and mental health. The course takes a holistic approach, looking at the impact of nutrition on body and mind, how food is used socially and in communicating feelings.
Magdalena Przybylka of Health Equalities Group said:
"Research indicates that young people in care often suffer worse health outcomes than young people outside of the system and often have food anxieties (such as overeating or hoarding food) which can be linked to early experiences of either abuse or neglect. Carers face a number of challenges related to those issues and they require skills in managing food associated behaviours in order to improve and maintain the health of the children and young people in their care.
"Both the resource pack and the training programme have been produced for carers and other professionals to fill the existing gap and support them in their unique role."
Liverpool foster carer, Cheryl Kokolay, added:
"The training sessions I had the chance to attend have inspired me to go away and keep learning, make changes and educate others. I look carefully at labels when I am shopping and make better choices and have bought lots of new health cooking books and equipment. The course has provided me with the time to stop, reflect and think about the importance of the psychology of food - the whole aspects including the behaviours and the routine. I've gained knowledge that I can go on and share with young people and I have a better understanding of the link between food, body, behaviour and emotions."
To find out more about the Food in Care programme, visit: www.foodincare.org.uk
Alternatively, contact Health Equalities Group on 0151 237 2686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.