The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has teamed with the Los Angeles County Juvenile Court, the Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families, hospitals associated with Los Angeles County medical hubs and a variety of other external partners to create a Juvenile Obesity Workgroup to help tackle the issue of obesity among children, especially those in foster care.
The workgroup will collaborate to connect resources educating caregivers about proper nutrition and exercise for youth.
Coordinated by Juvenile Court Presiding Judge Michael Nash, the Juvenile Obesity Workgroup members also include representatives from the Association of Community Human Services Agencies (ACHSA), the DCFS Training section and the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department.
Part of the workgroup’s agenda will include increasing the awareness and training for social workers and public health nurses regarding nutrition. The workgroup also aims to identify resources and services to refer caregivers and children to such as treatment centers that have expertise in dealing with childhood obesity. In addition, the workgroup will collaborate with group home providers to address the nutritional status of children in group homes and look at their exercise programs in order to provide suggestions and help.
The workgroup will also work closely with community providers associated with the County’s Healthier Communities, Stronger Families, and Thriving Children (HST) and Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project to streamline information to the community and reinforce early education about nutrition and exercise.
"This is a growing problem nationwide," said Dr. Charles Sophy, DCFS Medical Director and a member of the County’s Juvenile Obesity Workgroup. "We at DCFS are charged with protecting vulnerable children in Los Angeles County and part of that protection includes raising the awareness level about the health needs of foster children so we can better serve them."