Vol. 17, No. 2 • May 2013

Nutrition Guide for Foster and Adoptive Parents

Malnutrition has a significant, unseen effect on brain development and lifelong cognitive functioning. A large number of adopted and foster children, especially those adopted internationally, have suffered from malnourishment. Research in this area shows that all adopted children should be evaluated early for existing nutritional deficiencies, so steps can be taken promptly to improve overall health.

A new easy-to-read guide, Adoption Nutrition: A Starter Guide for Foster and Adoptive Parents, addresses this issue by compiling the necessary information for caregivers and professionals to help them effectively assess children's postadoption nutritional needs and nurse this population back to optimal health and well-being. The guide uses concise language, tables and lists, and interactive buttons to present information on the following topics:

  • Common nutrient deficiencies, symptoms, and foods that boost nutrition
  • Risk factors for malnourishment
  • If deficiencies are suspected, recommended nutrition lab tests for children adopted domestically and internationally and children in foster care
  • Tips for caregivers on transitioning a child's diet
  • Understanding and responding to feeding challenges
  • Fortifying and fun food ideas and "power" recipes to increase nutrition

This guide is the product of a collaboration between SPOON Foundation and Joint Council on International Children's Services, nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned and adopted children and children in foster care. The guide is available at http://bit.ly/V5HG4P

A related resource is the Adoption Nutrition website (http://adoptionnutrition.org), an extensive nutrition and feeding resource for adoptive and foster families.

Reprinted from the Children's Bureau Express

~ Family and Children's Resource Program, UNC-CH School of Social Work ~