Survey reveals limited support for carers on food behaviour issues among Children in Care

Survey reveals limited support for carers on food behaviour issues among Children in Care

Earlier this year, Food Active published position statement on ‘Food as a safeguarding issue’.

Since then we have partnered with several national organisations, including: Foster Talk, BECOME charity, National Fostering Agency, National Association of Fostering Providers and Power of Parenting and with three local authorities (Tameside & Glossop, Knowsley, Barnsley) to develop a Food in Care Charter.

As a first step, a national online survey took place in May 2019 to examine the scale of the food behaviour challenges experienced by carers and other professionals; what support is currently available to them; where are the gaps; what works and how things could be changed or improved. The results will inform the development of the Food in Care work and the key findings are:

  • All 164 participants listed number of examples of food challenges experienced in their roles.
  • Majority of participants hadn’t received any support, training or guidance around either nutrition (70%) or food behaviour issues (80.5%).
  • In examples where support was provided, this concerned more clinical issues such as eating disorder or special diets, and not regarding general food behaviour challenges such as hoarding, picky eating and selective eating, which have been listed as the most common issues that carers are faced with on daily basis.
  • Although carers rated their knowledge on nutrition and food issues on average as either good or very good, more than half of them stated that support in the form of ‘mandatory training on food and nutrition’ (59%) or ‘online resource/toolkit’ (67%) should be made available to carers.
  • Majority of participants (79%) also recommended food workshops/ cooking courses to be offered to Children in Care and Care Leavers.
  • Many participants described how unsupported they felt: “Lack of concern from professionals about a 4-year-old child with additional needs who was very overweight when she came to us after 3 years in a different foster placement. My concerns were brushed”.

The summary of responses received can be found in the report below.


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