Happy Meals for Unhappy Kids

Happy Meals for Unhappy Kids

The New Mexico Children, Families and Youth Department has announced a pilot program designed to provide McDonald’s Happy Meals for kids newly placed in state custody.

Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson knew kids were often hungry when removed from their homes and awaiting placement in a foster home. McDonald’s restaurants in New Mexico were approached about providing meal cards to CFYD so kids could have a meal they were familiar with that also comforted them during this stressful wait time. The amazing thing about this pilot program (which began in August and runs through December) is that every single McDonald’s in New Mexico (over 100) agreed to participate in supplying each CFYD office with meal cards. When’s the last time you remember an entire state’s worth of any company agreeing with their state government on something? Never? Me neither. So, that’s good.

The sad things about this program are, number one, that these kids are so familiar with and comforted by a cheap, quick meal, bought on the fly, eaten in the car, requiring no planning or consideration or tradition, and is synonymous with “dinner” perhaps more often than it should be.

Number two, if more services and supports were available and were funneled to families in crisis in a larger effort to maintain kids in their own homes whenever possible, then maybe fewer would come into custody or be hungry when they do. Just my opinion.

To report child abuse or neglect in New Mexico, call 1-855-333-7233 or #SAFE from any cell phone.

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