Addressing Nutrition with Orphans and Adopted Children

April 21, 2015

Submitted by Joint Council on International Children’s Services

Courtesy: Joint Council on International Children's Services

Courtesy: Joint Council on International Children’s Services

It may come as no surprise that children who lack a stable family are at an increased risk of under-nutrition, but perhaps more surprising is that so are recently adopted children. Nutrition problems amongst Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) and recent adoptees have nothing to do with the amount of love and care they are receiving but are the result of the complex and unique factors facing them. If these problems are not addressed, there can be long-term consequences to the health and development of these children. The resources available to parents, caregivers, and professionals have been limited in the past. Recognizing the importance of this issue and the lack of help available to those who work closely with these children, the Joint Council on International Children’s Services has taken a number of steps to fill these unmet needs.

Knowing that proper nutrition is critical to every child’s growth and development, the Mead Johnson Nutrition Foundation and The Joint Council for International Children’s Services started A Child’s Best Start, dedicated to improving nutritional care for children living in vulnerable conditions around the world.

Through this program, Joint Council and Mead Johnson are leading an initiative to identify best practices for nutritional care among this population of children. The program will provide critical nutrition information to individual caregivers through training on the ground in facilities located everywhere from cities in China, to small towns in rural Mexico.

Together with the SPOON Foundation, Joint Council and Mead Johnson established the Global Nutrition Working Group of leading authorities on nutrition and medical care for vulnerable children and children living without parental care, to provide guidance on the development of program materials. One such resource available is OrphanNutrition. org.  Additional aspects of the program will support research, implement in-language training programs, and provide on-the-ground support to the individual organizations that care for children living in fragile circumstances.

Through the SPOON Foundation, a partner of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, AdoptionNutrition.org works to address the specific nutritional needs of adopted children and those within the foster care system by providing resources that help understand the issue and how to combat it in the way children eat and learn.

This summer the Joint Council on International Children’s Services and the National Council for Adoption will be hosting the Putting Family First: From Family Strengthening to Adoptionfrom June 22 – 24, 2015 in Arlington, VA. On Monday, June 22, the conference will be featuring the Medical Institute at the Putting Family First Conference. This will include a number of events with world-renowned professionals touching on the nutritional needs of orphans and vulnerable children. Medical Institute speakers include Dr. Dana Johnson, Dr. Ira J. Chasnoff, Dr. Maria Kroupina, Dr. Judith Eckerle, Dr. Elaine Schulte, and more.One-day rates are available to those interested specifically in the Medical Institute!

Courtesy: Joint Council on International Children's Services

Courtesy: Joint Council on International Children’s Services