When there’s not enough food to go
– the important
role of child and
family services
• Jennifer Evans National Project Lead Child
• Renee Gwee National Senior Project Officer Food
Security (APD)
• Lauren Karklins Case Manager Brisbane North
Family Support Program
• Joanne McKinnon Project Coordinator Family
Support Program Warwick
Not just an issue of the past
Please Sir I want some more
Oliver Twist Charles Dickens 1838
Key Reflections
Red Cross experience as an example of process
• Building a platform of legitimacy – for children,
food security – dialogue/ resources
• Understanding the issue
• Organisational response
• Common characteristics across population groups
• What next?
Australian Red Cross today
Our mission: to improve the lives of vulnerable people in Australia
and internationally by mobilising the power of humanity.
Our vision: to be a leading humanitarian organisation in Australia,
improving the lives of vulnerable people through services delivered
and promotion of humanitarian laws and values.
Seven Fundamental Principles
• Humanity
Its purpose is to protect life and health and ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding,
friendship, co-operation and lasting peace amongst all people.
• Impartiality
It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the
suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.
• Neutrality
In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in
controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
• Independence
National Societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their
respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with the
principles of the Movement.
• Voluntary service
Voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain
• Unity
Only one Red Cross or Red Crescent Society in any one country, open to all & carry on its humanitarian work throughout its
• Universality
IRCRC movement -all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other
Priority Areas
Red Cross helps to improve the lives of vulnerable people
by working in the following areas:
together as partners with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
championing international humanitarian law
increasing international aid and development
tackling entrenched locational disadvantage
addressing the impact of migration
strengthening national emergency preparedness, response and recovery
overcoming social exclusion by providing bridges back into the community
providing a safe and secure blood supply for Australians
Food Security
Food Security is the state of having:
regular and sustainable access to
nutritionally adequate
affordable and
culturally acceptable food
from non-emergency sources.
Policy context
International Context
United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child – 25 years
Article 6 - “Children have the right to live a full life. Governments should ensure that
children survive and develop healthily.”
Article 24 – “Children have the right to good quality health care, clean water,
nutritious food and a clean environment so that they will stay healthy. Richer
countries should help poorer countries achieve this.”
United Nations Declaration of Human Rights
Article 25 (1) – “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the
health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing
and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the
event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of
livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
Policy context
National Context
• Protecting Children is Everyone’s
Business (National Policy
• State and Territory Child Protection
• Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
• Infant Feeding Guidelines
• National Food Plan (2012)
Hierarchy of needs
Australia’s Children
How are they doing?
 Australia ranks just ‘middle of the road’ in comparison to other
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) countries on indicators of child and youth wellbeing
across the key domains of:
• Families, health education, child poverty, deprivation and
 One in six young Australians are at risk of neglect and abuse
Australia’s children
• OECD report
• Relative poverty in Australia (14.4% of the population) is higher than the
OECD average (11.3%). Even if they still are high, poverty rates for youth
and particularly those over the age of 65 declined, while child poverty
• 17% of children are living below the poverty line
• 10% of Australians report that they cannot afford to buy enough food. This
proportion has increased somewhat over the past years, but remains
lower than the OECD average of 13.2%.
• Deprivation Index– ability of households to afford essentials
• Four items food security
Deprivation index of child poverty
14 item deprivation index
1. Three meals a day
2. At least one meal a day with meat, fish or chicken (or a
vegetarian equivalent)
3. Fresh fruit and vegetables everyday
4. The opportunity, from time to time to invite friends home to play
and eat
Measuring child poverty, UICEF, Innocenti Research Centre, Report Card 10, 2012.
Australia’s children
• Red Cross Inaugural Vulnerability Report 2013
“After paying the rent we have $35 left for 2 weeks…we are eating noodles
and eggs…normally one sometimes two meals a day. We realise this is not
good for us…the body is not getting what it needs.”
40% of people seeking asylum had experienced food insecurity in the
preceding 12 months, principally because of the cost of household bills
and low income
• Homelessness
• 105, 237 homeless people (0.5% of population) in Australia
• 27% 18 years and under
Food Poverty (cont’d)
• Anglicare report 2013 – Hard Choices: Going Without in a Time
of Plenty (A study of Food Insecurity in NSW and ACT of people
accessing their emergency relief services)
• 3 out of 4 children lived in a food insecure household
• In 14% of the households, children were forced to skip meals
• In 25% of cases, children were forced to go hungry on a regular basis
• In 7% of households, children did not eat for a whole day on a
recurrent basis
• Sanitarium key news poll findings 2013
• 22% eat less to save money or had no more money
• 7% said they do this regularly
• 27% households put off paying bills so they can afford food when kids in
Australia’s children
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities
• In 2004-2005, 24% of Indigenous Australians aged 15 years and over reported
they ran out of food in the last 12 months, compared to 5% of nonIndigenous Australians
• In a 2006 Victorian study 51% of Aboriginal families reported experiencing
food insecurity, whereby they ran out of food and were not able to buy
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 30 times more likely to
suffer from nutritional anaemia as a result of poor nutrition and feeding
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children between 2 and 4 years of age
are almost twice as likely to be overweight or obese as compared with all
Australian children in that age range
Browne J, Laurence S, Thorpe S (2009) Acting on food insecurity in urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander communities: Policy and practice interventions to improve local access and supply of nutritious
Australian Medical Association,. (2013). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Report Card 20122013. AMA.
Multiple perspectives
• Household Perspective
• Health impacts
• Child development
• Social exclusion
• Behavioural challenges
• Educational challenges
• Life events
Framework for Food Security
Livelihood's concept
Food Security Continuum
Food secure
Food insecure
Rosier K. Food insecurity in Australia: What is it, who experiences it and how can child and family services
support families experiencing it? - CAFCA Practice Sheet - Child Family Community Australia [Internet].
Aifs.gov.au. 2013. Available from: http://www.aifs.gov.au/cafca/pubs/sheets/ps/ps9.html
Food insecure
with severe
Translating framework into practice
• Individual, and households: case work and group
• Communities; local partnerships, health education,
community development and skill sharing
• Work force development: training, forums
• Resource, Program development : research, desk
top reviews
• Advocacy: research, partnerships and sector
Food Literacy
“Food literacy can be defined as the relative ability to basically understand the nature of
food and how it is important to you and how you are able to gain information about
food, process it, analyse it and act upon it.” Vidgen & Gallegos, 2011
Food literacy consists of the following competencies:
• Access
• Eating
• Planning and Management
• Selection
• Knowing where food comes from
• Preparation
• Nutrition
• Eating
• Language
Vidgen H &Gallegos D. What is food literacy and does it influence what we eat: a study of
Australian food experts. (2011). Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland.
Australian Red Cross FOODcents® program
Six modules:
1. Healthy Eating
2. Food Budgeting
3. Smart Shopping
4. Get Moving
5. Healthy Cooking
6. Kitchen Safety
Topics covered in these modules include:
• defining a healthy diet and why it’s important;
• identify food budgeting problems and solutions;
• recipe planning and shopping lists;
• finding and cooking low budget recipes;
• how to read a nutrition panel and choose health products;
• a grocery shopping tour;
• tops for recipe modification and increasing fruit and vegetable
• food preparation and cooking methods;
• safety and hygiene (food handling and storage);
• nutrition through the life-cycle (e.g. early childhood,
adolescence, pregnancy, breastfeeding)
• understanding food advertising and marketing strategies;
• healthy lunch boxes and healthy snacks;
Common considerations
• Context - understand drivers - lived experiences
• Solutions- adapted process and resources
• Where and how to work in this space
• Engagement and food security issues
• Sense of accomplishment – confidence
Resources - Program Development: Research Best Practice
Australian Red Cross FOODcents® program
Superfood Heroes
Good Tucker Healthy Eating
Balcony gardens
MSP specific
National Food security survey
Qld focus groups & Healthy Living for Every Culture
Taste Australia (NSW)
Putting Down Roots (SA, Vic)
A New Place to Taste (SA)
• Recipes
• The Mixing Bowl: Healthy Recipes for One or Two ACT
• FOODcents® specific recipes
Communities and partnerships
• Local
• Healthy Baby Healthy Community - Galiwinku with Miwatj
Health Aboriginal Corporation
• Fregon Emergency Relief program SA
• Community Connect Second Bite Vic
• Food Rescue organisations eg. Foodbank, Secondbite, OzHarvest
• Food mapping Newcastle University and Kempsey LG
• Tucker Tracks Multiple agencies in Kempsey
• School and community gardens
• CALD community resource centres and TAFE in Queensland
• State
• Food provision outlet mapping and low SE areas; Anglicare ACT
SENSW; Low cost and free food information brochure Yellow
Van, Health, ACT
• Foodbank, Cancer Council WA
• OPAL, Foodbank SA
Advocacy: Policy $ Partnerships
Dietitians Association Australia and Public Health Association
of Australia MOU
Academic network of experts
Curriculum Development
Fair Food Alliance NSW
APY Lands Executive Action Team (APY EAT)
Brighton Food Security project: Tasmania
SecondBite; The Smith Family; Jordon River Services; the Aboriginal Child and
Family Centre; Campbell Page; Good Beginnings and Bridgewater PCYC
What’s next
Thank you: ACWA,
Anglicare, QUT, Curtin
• Invitation to each of you to go back
to your organisations and teams and
start a conversation about the role
of food security in your everyday
practice with children and families,
implications for foster care training,
opportunities for partnerships and
• Further learning opportunities: NSW
conference “Putting Food on the
Table” October
• Interest to convene a practice
discussion …if organisations are
interested, please email us
References – food security
Browne J, Laurence S, Thorpe S (2009) Acting on food insecurity in urban Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander communities: Policy and practice interventions to improve local
access and supply of nutritious food.
Dowler, E., & O’Connor, D. (2012). Rights-based approaches to addressing food poverty
and food insecurity in Ireland and UK. Social Science & Medicine, 74(1), 44--51.
King, S., Bellamy, J., Kemp, B., & Mollenhauer, J. (2013). Hard choices (1st ed.).
Parramatta, N.S.W.: ANGLICARE Diocese of Sydney.
McCurdy, K., Gorman, K., & Metallinos-Katsaras, E. (2010). From poverty to food insecurity
and child overweight: a family stress approach. Child Development Perspectives, 4(2),
Vidgen, H., & Gallegos, D. (2011). What is food literacy and does it influence what we eat:
a study of Australian food experts. Queensland University Of Technology.
Whitbeck, L., Chen, X., & Johnson, K. (2006). Food insecurity among homeless and
runaway adolescents. Public Health Nutrition, 9(01), 47--52.
References – Children & Family Welfare
Australian Centre for Child Protection. (2014). Protecting and Nurturing Children: Building
Capacity, Building Bridges (BCBB) - Research - University of South Australia
Australian Medical Association, The Healthy Early Years – Getting the Right Start in Life,
Indigenous Health Report Card, 2013, Australia
Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, Report Card: The wellbeing of young
Australians.2013. Australia
Australian Government 2013. A Snapshot of Early Childhood Development in Australia 2012
— AEDI National Report, Australian Government, Canberra.
Scott, D. (2009). 'Think Child, Think Family': How Adult Specialist Services Can Support
Children at Risk of Abuse and Neglect. Family Matters, (81), 37.
Homelessness Task Force. The Road Home: A National Approach to Reducing Homelessness.
Canberra: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs,
Recommended links
Australian Red Cross Inaugural Vulnerability Report http://www.redcross.org.au/files/ARC_VulnerabilityReport_LR.PDF
Australian Red Cross FOODcents® program (Western Australia) http://www.foodcentsprogram.com.au/
Good food for new arrivals (http://nutrition.asetts.org.au/)
Nutrition Education Materials Online (Queensland Health)
Better Health Channel - State of Victoria http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/
Food rescue/ low cost food options including food cooperatives:
• Foodbank
• Oz Harvest,
• Second Bite ,
• Yellow Van (ACT)
“Lived poverty is the embodiment of hard choices. Households living
on the margins experience significant levels of deprivation as they
choose between having sufficient food to feed their families, securing
stable and affordable accommodation and paying utility and medical
bills. The experience can be one of isolation and social disconnection
from family and friends, and a significant struggle to protect their
children from the worst effects of such poverty.”
Jennifer Evans
National Project Lead Child Protection
Ph: (02) 9229 4269
[email protected]
Red Cross National Food Security Team
[email protected]
Food Insecurity
Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business
• Joined up responses
• Placed based approaches
• Role of adult facing services – child
aware/child and family sensitive practice
• Drug & Alcohol, Mental Health, homelessness

Evans - Association of Children`s Welfare Agencies