Food plays a central role in everybody's lives by contributing to their sense of well-being and to their enjoyment of living. This report investigates food from the perspective of young people in residential care and those who have recently left care. The research was designed and conducted by young people who used their knowledge of the care system to inform the investigation. They have produced clear evidence that despite the recommendations of the Children Act 1989, current practices of food provision in children's homes meet the needs of the organization rather than the needs and wants of the young people living in the homes. The outcome of this is that every year thousands of young people leave care inadequately prepared to live independently and, as a group, remain particularly vulnerable to malnutrition, ill health and suicide. Through this work the young people have issued a challenge to Local Authorities to review their policies and practice regarding the care of young people in residential homes. The report should be of interest for those participating with young people and those concerned about the lives of "looked after" young people.
Many of the issues raised are relevant to other groups of people using health and social services. It should be of interest also to anyone sharing a passion for food and a concern that young people are denied opportunities to develop their won skills and enjoyment of food. It should be of interest to health and social service policy makers, people working in the Looked After system, community dietitians, academics and students.