Infant food insecurity - responding and preventing: guide

Following discussions in June 2023, we committed to forming a short life working group to develop emergency integrated pathways for families in Scotland with an infant that may face food insecurity and what is available locally to them in an emergency. This toolkit forms a guide for local areas.

Data and data sources

The importance of data and collating data sources to understand where and how families with infants are being supported, and the responsiveness of that support is vital to making a difference in these families’ lives. The ultimate aim is to reach a position where families are no longer reaching crisis point before interventions are put in place to support them.

Available data is captured in a number of ways including routinely across multiple systems, through survey data and local intelligence. There is no single source to establish how families with an infant are seeking and receiving support, and how their unique needs are being met.

Aligning local data, and to some extent national data, will help us better understand the problem, assess the impact of focussing on these families and provide a baseline for improvement. Local agencies and partners are encouraged to consider:

  • What sources of relevant data could be gathered or drawn upon to understand the scale of the problem locally, the nature of the problem, and where continuous improvement can be made.
  • Opportunities for capturing family make up – including those with an infant under 12 months – within data gathering locally, given that this group is one of the six priority family types for tackling child poverty.[15]
  • How existing local governance and reporting structures can take account of work in this area and any relevant data. For example, this could include:
    • reporting on local action through their local Child Poverty Reports.
    • monitoring through structures such as Maternal and Infant Nutrition strategic groups.
  • How an active surveillance approach can be used to purposefully seek information and have conversations with families who are most likely to be at risk, including through services that are supporting them routinely.



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