Success StorySNAP-Ed Successfully Guiding Children within the Kentucky Foster Care into a Healthy Lifestyle



SNAP-Ed Successfully Guiding Children within the Kentucky Foster Care into a Healthy Lifestyle

Author: Jessica Reed

Planning Unit: KSU Administration

Major Program: Nutrition and Food Systems General

Outcome: Intermediate Outcome

The Kentucky Foster Care System provides a safe opportunity for children to stay while conflicts or disruptions are being resolved within the regular life of the children. Many of the children placed within foster care have experienced abuse, neglect, or some other family challenges. The children are removed from the home due to their safety. According to https://chfs.ky.gov, there are over 9000 children placed within Kentucky’s foster care system as of December 2021. The average months spent in foster care placement is 24 months, and the average age is 10. However, many of the children are in and out of foster care over their adolescent years. According to childrensrights.org, research has shown that children leaving foster care without being linked to a forever family have an increased risk of experience homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration compared to children to children the same age within permanent families. Also, according to https://stateofchildhoodobesity.org, Kentucky has 23.8% of youth ages 10 to 17 have obesity, which ranks Kentucky 1 among the 50 states and D.C for obesity. A study by City University of New York shows that obesity can lower life expectancy, Americans died an average of 3.7 years earlier from all causes related to obesity according to https://fruitsandveggies.org/

Montgomery County, Kentucky offers different foster care services to support for all children and families. Gateway Children Services began in 1981 and have partnered with Kentucky State University SNAP-Ed Program. Over the past six years, the two organizations have partnered together for programming in-person and virtually to meet the needs of the children. The children have participated in cooking camps and Healthy Choices Lessons over the years which covers multiple life skills for them to use, now and for later in life.  The children learn about the recommendation of MyPlate with calorie intake, reading labels, the importance of breakfast, knife skills, and reading recipes just to name some key points. Each child will be able to modify their plate to meet their individual nutritional meal which can lower their risk of chronic diseases. 

December 2021, Montgomery County SNAP-Ed Program Assistant performed the last quarterly programming of 2021 at Gateway Children’s Services. The programming was held in-person for all 9 students, ages 14-17 years old. The SNAP-Ed Assistant made booklets for the children to follow along with during programming. The children learned about all five food groups and the importance of reducing fat, sugar, and sodium within the diet. The children learned about food safety and the importance of a clean working space to reduce the risk of food borne illnesses. While the children learned about each lesson and shown skills, they would use in the kitchen to cook a healthy meal, they were asked to prepare a healthy breakfast and read the labels of the products. The children made a successful healthy breakfast parfait. Not only will the children have a healthy start on breakfast, but they will have a healthy start on preparing their own foods, thinking about their choices. Step by step and small changes lead to a successful healthy lifestyle. 







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