Grantee Blog 2020

Providing Healthy Foods and Healthy Choices for People of All Abilities

Children and adults with disabilities often do not benefit from the same level of support services, such as health and social services, as those without disabilities. The Family Resource Network’s (FRN) Center on Nutrition and Disability (CND) aims to develop an Inclusive Nutrition Standards of Care and Guidelines for Implementation to increase access to healthy foods and food choices for people of all abilities. Our reach is Statewide and will include Summer Camps, After School Programs, Day Programs, and/or Residential Supports across New Jersey.

With a growing collaboration of well-connected partnerships such as the New Jersey Council of Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD), SPAN Parent Advocacy Network, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, and the New Jersey Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics (NJAAP) – our first year we are conducting an environmental scan that will better position us to assess current practices and identify gaps. Meaningful conversations with community members, stakeholders, and providers produces multiple lenses of expertise. Building an inclusive culture of health includes embracing all factors of health – like oral health. CND and NJAAP have developed a webinar that addresses Oral Health Care for Children with Special Needs and acknowledges the relationship between nutrition and oral health. Recognizing the connection between all aspects of our health, CND is also providing virtual information and referral supports to families during the current pandemic to services such as FRN’s Health Insurance Navigator Program.

We will pilot-test the Guidelines for Implementation that will accompany the Standards of Care through community based participatory research strategies to ensure grassroots engagement and input. Pilot- testing will be based of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundations’ “What Works for Health Strategies” to harness sustainable deep-rooted policy change for disability service providers.

About the Grantee

Family Resource Network

The Family Resource Network is an inclusive group of community programs and services designed to meet the growing needs of individuals and families with disabilities. From mobility assistance to educational programs for children with intellectual & developmental disabilities, to scholarship opportunities and healthy eating and fitness programs- we aim to bridge gaps for the families we serve.