Feeding body, mind and soul

cook pulling tray out of commercial sized oven in large kitchen
Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 8:10am

Findings published last month following a year-long independent study evaluating the food environments of North Carolina’s juvenile justice facilities indicate that staff are invested in the children in their care, meet child nutrition program requirements for all daily meals and feel that their role in promoting child health and wellness is important. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, through its Healthy Eating Research program, released the final brief of results from a Research Triangle Institute (RTI) team, who examined the food and beverage service at both the agency and facility level in the state’s juvenile justice residential facilities.  

Some key findings of this study recognized the innovative approaches used by NC DPS in its nutritional programming; its formation of comprehensive wellness initiatives throughout their facilities; its participation in both the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program; and the establishment of on-site gardens at four of the five facilities, which allow fresh-grown vegetables to be incorporated into the diet plans. One facility has a modern, hydroponic greenhouse that serves both as a student classroom and a resource for providing nutrition.

Providing healthy meals to the youths residing in North Carolina’s juvenile justice facilities gets to the core of the section’s purpose of caring for the whole individual. Nutrition Program Administrator Lynne Williams ensures that the staff members entrusted with this critical responsibility are given the resources and training needed to provide proper nutrition and wellness for the youth population in the care of  NCDPS.- Following established FDA and state school system guidelines, William’s team of food service professionals proudly serve meals to help kids grow, develop and perform at a high level throughout each day.

In addition to serving food that provides the nutrients and calories that young people need, staff members at all NC DPS juvenile facilities aim to provide a continuum of health, wellness and nutrition education throughout the duration of a youth’s stay.  Every individual is taught the importance of how, what and why to eat better, to promote lifelong health. “Teaching the most effective methods we can, ensures our youth have every opportunity to succeed in life after they leave NC DPS care,” stated Director of Education Adam Johnson. The award-winning NC DPS-Juvenile Justice food service staff consistently earns praise from their peers and are recognized annually for adhering to the highest quality standards. 
 

Author: 
Communications Staff