Globally, millions of children live without parental care, with most living in orphanages, group homes and institutions. While caregivers work diligently to attend to the needs of these children, science-based training and resources on nutrition and feeding practices to help identify nutrition deficiencies are often unavailable.
Through the new program, called A Child’s Best Start, Joint Council and Mead Johnson are leading an initiative to identify best practices for nutritional care among this vulnerable population of children. The program will provide critical nutrition information to individual caregivers through training on the ground in facilities located everywhere from major cities like Shanghaito small towns in rural Mexico.
A Child’s Best Start will support research, establish a free online library of information and resources, implement in-language training programs, and provide support to the individual organizations that care for vulnerable children. The program will launch the online library later this year and start the training pilot program in the first country, China, in the first half of 2012.
Mead Johnson’s nutrition scientists will lend their expertise to materials development, and its offices and employees in countries around the world will help individual orphanages and group homes through programs based on local needs.
“Children living in orphanages and group homes often do not receive the strong nutritional foundation they need in order to grow and flourish.” said Tom DiFilipo, president and chief executive officer of Joint Council. “Our goal through this partnership with the Mead Johnson Nutrition Foundation, is to change that. We believe A Child’s Best Start is uniquely positioned to serve these vulnerable children by identifying their specific nutritional needs, introducing science based interventions, marshaling the resources of our partner-members and mobilizing local volunteer care givers.”
To get the program underway, Joint Council and Mead Johnson have formed a cooperative agreement with the the SPOON Foundation, a member of the Joint Council network which focuses its efforts on orphan nutrition. Together, the groups established the Global Nutrition Working Group of leading authorities on nutrition and medical care for vulnerable children and children living without parental care, to provide guidance on the development of program materials.
“One way we fulfill our corporate mission to nourish the world’s children for the best start in life is by giving back to and helping to improve the communities where we live, work and operate as a business,” said Stephen W. Golsby, Mead Johnson Nutrition’s president and chief executive officer. “A Child’s Best Start leverages Mead Johnson’s deep scientific expertise and understanding of pediatric nutrition and builds on our century-long heritage of philanthropy and community involvement. This program will make a real impact on the lives of children, and we are proud to be a founding member of this ambitious effort.”
About Joint Council for International Children’s Services
Joint Council helps vulnerable children living without parental care by advocating on their behalf, marshaling the resources they need, educating those who serve them and mobilizing those who care. Joint Council and its partner organizations provided services to over 2.1 million children and families each year. For more information, go to www.jointcouncil.org/.
About Mead Johnson Nutrition Company
Mead Johnson, a global leader in pediatric nutrition, develops, manufactures, markets and distributes more than 70 products in over 50 countries worldwide. The company’s mission is to nourish the world’s children for the best start in life. The Mead Johnson name has been associated with science-based pediatric nutrition products for over 100 years. The company’s “Enfa” family of brands, including Enfamil® infant formula, is the world’s leading brand franchise in pediatric nutrition. For more information, go to www.meadjohnson.com.
The above map represents the countries for A Child’s Best Start. The countries highlighted in dark green are those that the program will target during year one, and the countries highlighted in light green are those that will roll out subsequently.