Safety Net For Neglected Older Teens Can Be Difficult To Secure

Emily Kendricks has to eat soft foods, just like her grandfather. Although she’s only 18, she’s missing six teeth due to her parents’ dental neglect, advocates say. Her mother ignored her, excluded her from meals, and did not return urgent calls from Kendricks’ school guidance counselor, so Kendricks left home and moved in with a friend’s family. Despite efforts to bring Kendricks’ case to the attention of the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) by that counselor and her friend’s mother starting a few weeks after her 17th birthday, DCF did not take Kendricks into state care until shortly before her 18th birthday. “There was a long period of time where I couldn’t understand why DCF didn’t help,” Kendricks said.

Is Food Bank System Contributing To Health Disparities?

The nation’s food bank system, created to provide emergency food assistance, fills a chronic need. Still, it may be perpetuating obesity among those facing hunger, concludes a new report by the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. The jump in demand for food caused by the pandemic’s economic fallout amplifies the challenges facing those who serve the hungry. Directors of food banks hesitate to request that donors confine their tax-deductible contributions to healthy foods for fear of alienating them, Kristen Cooksey Stowers said in the report published in PLOS ONE. Stowers, assistant professor in the University of Connecticut’s Allied Health Services Department, concludes there are many opportunities to promote health equity among food pantry clients, particularly those from historically marginalized groups.