Southeast Alabama Youth Service’s Inc. Wellness Policies on Physical Activity and Nutrition



Southeast Alabama Youth Service shall be committed to providing facility environments that promote and protect juveniles’ health, well being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. Therefore, it is the policy of Southeast Alabama Youth Service’s Inc. that:

  • The agency will engage juveniles, healthy staff, qualified food service professionals, and other interested community members in developing, implementing, monitoring, and reviewing agency nutrition and physical activity.
  • All juveniles in the Diversion Center and Boy’s and Girl’s Attention Homes will have opportunities, support, and encouragement to be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Foods and beverages served in all 3 facilities will meet the nutrition recommendations of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. No foods and beverages will be sold to juveniles. 
  • Qualified child nutrition professionals will provide juveniles with access to a variety of affordable, nutritious, and appealing foods that meet the health and nutrition needs of juveniles; will accommodate the religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the population in meal planning; and will provide clean, safe and pleasant settings and adequate time for juveniles to eat.
  • To the maximum extent practicable, the facilities will participate in available federal school meal programs (including the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program (including after school snacks), Summer Food Service Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program (including dinner).
  • Facilities will provide nutrition education and physical education to foster lifelong habits of healthy eating and physical activity, and will establish linkages between health education and school meal programs, and with related community services.



I.              School Health Councils

Southeast Alabama Youth Service’s Inc. will create, strengthen, or work within existing school health councils to develop, implement, monitor, review and as necessary, revise school nutrition and physical activity policies. The councils also will serve as resources to school sites for implementing those policies.  


II.            Nutritional Quality of Foods and Beverages Served in Facilities


Meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs will:

  • be appealing and attractive to juveniles
  • served in clean and pleasant settings
  • Meet, at a minimum, nutrition requirements established by local, state and federal statutes and regulations; to the extent possible, facilities will offer at least two non-fried vegetable and two fruit options each day and will offer five different fruits and five different vegetables over the course of a week. Facilities are encouraged to source fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers when practicable.
  • Serve only low-fat (1%) and fat-free milk and nutritionally-equivalent non-dairy alternatives (to be defined by USDA)
  • Ensure that over half of the served grains or whole grain. A whole grain is one labeled as a “whole” grain product or with a whole grain listed as the primary grain ingredient in the ingredient statement. Examples include; “whole” wheat flour, cracked wheat, brown rice, and oatmeal.
  • Food will not be available to purchase by juvenile in facilities.

Breakfast: To ensure that all juveniles have breakfast, either at the facility or whole at school, in order to meet their nutritional needs and enhance their ability to learn:

  • Facilities will operate the School Nutrition Program
  • Facilities will, to the extent possible, arrange daily schedules to provide adequate time for preparing, serving, and consuming breakfast.

Free and Reduced-Priced Meals: Southeast Alabama Youth Service’s Diversion Center school clients will be served free meals. The Boy’s and Girl’s Attention Homes will participate in the provision of free meals for residents, however clients at the Attention Homes will be attending public schools during school year and will be completing documents required by the designated schools for qualifying for the free lunch.

Summer Food Service Program: Southeast Alabama Youth Service’s Inc. will not participate in the Summer Food Service Program.

Meal Times and Scheduling for Facilities:

  • provide juveniles with at least 15 minutes to eat after sitting down for breakfast and 20 minutes after sitting down for lunch and dinner
  • Schedule meal periods at regular times. Agency policy requires meals be provided during each 24-hour period, with no more than 14 hours between the evening meal and breakfast.
  • Will not schedule educational, counseling, or recreational activities during mealtimes, unless juvenile may eat during such activities.
  • Provide juveniles access to hand washing or hand sanitizing before they eat meals or snacks.
  • Will take reasonable steps to accommodate the tooth-brushing regimens of students with special oral health needs (e.g., orthodontia or high tooth decay risk).


Qualifications of School Food Service Staff:  Qualified nutrition professionals will administer the facility meal programs. As part of the agency’s responsibility to operate a food service program, the agency will provide continuing professional development for all dietary staff. Staff development programs should include appropriate certification and/or training programs for food service supervisors, managers, and other food service employees, according to their levels of responsibility.

Sharing of Foods and Beverages: Facilities shall discourage juveniles from sharing their food or beverages with one another during meal or snack times, given concerns about allergies and other restrictions on some juvenile’s diets.


Fundraising Activities: To support juvenile’s health and nutrition-education efforts, fundraising activities for group homes will not involve food. Schools will encourage fundraising activities that promote appropriate physical activity will be allowed as approved by the Executive Director.

Snacks: Snacks served at facilities during or after the school day will make a positive contribution to juvenile’s diets and health, with an emphasis on serving fruits and vegetables as the primary snacks and water as the primary beverage. Facilities will assess if and when the offer snacks based on timing of meals, juveniles nutritional needs, client’s ages, and other consideration. The agency will provide a list of healthy snack items to dietary staff.


Facilities will participate and provide snacks through the National School Snack Program

Rewards: Facilities will not use foods or beverages as rewards for academic performance or good behavior, and will not withhold food or beverages as a form of punishment. Agency policy prohibits the use of food as a disciplinary measure.

Celebrations: The agency will provide a list of healthy party ideas for special occasions to food service staff.

Special Events (recreational outings, or performances): Foods and beverages offered at a special event for juveniles will meet the nutrition standards for meals.


III.         Nutrition and Physical Activity Promotion and Food Marketing

Nutrition Education and Promotion:  Southeast Alabama Youth Service’s Inc. aims to teach, encourage, and support healthy eating by juveniles. The Diversion Center and the Boy’s and Girl’s Attention Homes should provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that:

  • is offered for all juveniles as part of a sequential, comprehensive, standards-based program designed to provide juveniles with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health;
  • is past of not only health education classes, but also individual or group; counseling, or basic life skills instructions
  • includes enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant, participatory activities, taste testing, and appropriate outings;
  • promotes fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, healthy food preparation methods, and health-enhancing nutrition practices;
  • emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (physical activity/exercise);
  • links with school meal programs, other school foods, and nutrition-related community services;
  • teaches media literacy with an emphasis on food marketing; and includes training for teachers and other staff

Integrating Physical Activity into the Classroom Setting: For students to receive the nationally-recommended amount of daily physical activity (at least 60 minutes per day) and for students to fully embrace regular physical activity as a personal behavior, students need opportunities for physical activity as a personal behavior, students need opportunities for physical activity beyond physical education class. Toward that end:

  • classroom health education at the Diversion Center will complement physical education by reinforcing the knowledge and self-management skills needed to maintain a physically-active lifestyle and to reduce time spent on sedentary activities, such as watching television;
  • opportunities for physical activity will be incorporated into other subject lessons;
  • classroom teachers will provide short physical activity breaks between lessons or classes, as appropriate

 Communications with Parents:  Southeast Alabama Youth Services will support parent’s efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children. Counselors and teachers will support parent’s efforts to provide a healthy diet and daily physical activity for their children by teaching the appropriate healthy nutritious lessons during all interaction with parents for example; counseling sessions and parenting classes. Parents will not be allowed to send packed lunches or snacks. Each child and parent will provide nutrition information upon admission. A nutrient analysis of school meals is available.

Diversion Center, Girl’s Attention Home and Boy’s Attention Home will provide information about physical education and other school based physical activity opportunities before, during, and after the school day; and support parents’ efforts to provide their children with opportunities to be physically active outside of school. Such supports will include sharing information about physical activity and physical education through parenting classes and family therapy sessions.


Food Marketing in Facilities in NOT Allowed:

Staff Wellness:  The agency highly values the health and well-being of every staff member and will plan and implement activities and policies that support personal efforts by staff to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The agency will establish and maintain a staff wellness committee composed of at least one staff member, school health council member, local hospital representative, dietician or other health professional, recreation program representative, union representative, and employee benefits specialists. (The staff wellness committee could be s subcommittee of the school health council). The committee should develop, promote, and oversee a multifaceted plan to promote staff health and wellness. The plan should be based on input solicited from school staff and should outline ways to encourage healthy eating, physical activity, and other elements of a healthy lifestyle among school staff. The staff wellness committee should distribute its plan to the school health council annually.


IV.          Physical Activity Opportunities and Physical Education

Daily Physical Education (P.E.) K-12: Students residing at the Boy’s and Girl’s Attention Homes will participate with the local school district of City of Ozark and the Dothan City School System’s Wellness Program during public school hours and be allowed to participate in after school daily physical activity at each residential facility. All students residing in the Diversion Center, including students with disabilities, special health-care needs, and in alternative educational settings, will receive daily physical education (or its equivalent of 150 minutes/week for elementary school students 225 minutes/week for middle and high school students) for the entire school year. All physical education will be taught by a certified physical education teacher. Students will spend at least 50 percent of physical education class time participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity.


Daily Recess: All elementary school students will have at least 20 minutes a day of supervised recess, preferably outdoors, during which schools should encourage moderate to vigorous physical activity verbally and through the provision of space and equipment.

The Diversion Center School should discourage extended periods (periods of 2 or more hours) of inactivity. When activities make it necessary for detainees to remain indoors for long periods of time, the school should give students periodic breaks during which they are encouraged to stand and be moderately active.

Physical Activity Opportunities Before and After School: The Diversion Center School will offer appropriate activities that meet the needs, interests, and abilities of all detainees, including boys, girls, students with disabilities, and students with special health-care needs. Attention Home residents will be afforded the opportunity to participate in appropriate public school sponsored activities, sports, cheerleading,, ROTC, etc. Agency policy provides for a recreation and leisure time plan that includes at a minimum at least one hour per day of large muscle activity and one hour of structured leisure time activities. 

Physical Activity and Punishment: Teachers and other childcare personnel will not use physical activity (e.g. running laps, pushups) or withhold opportunities for physical activity (e.g. recess, physical education) as punishment. Agency policy protects juveniles from personal abuse, corporal punishment, personal injury, disease, property damage, and harassment.

Safe Routed to School: Group home residents will be transported by staff to public schools or utilize public school bus transportation.

Use of School Facilities Outside of School Hours: The Diversion Center School will not be available for use outside of school hours.


V.            Monitoring and Policy Review

Monitoring: The Executive Director or designee will ensure compliance with established agency nutrition and physical activity wellness policies. In each facility, a designee will ensure compliance with those policies and will report on compliance to the Executive Director or designee.

Food service staff will ensure compliance with nutrition policies within food service areas and will report on this matter to the Executive Director or designee.

Food Service staff will ensure compliance with nutrition policies within food service areas and will report on this matter to the Executive Director designee. In addition, the agency will report on the most recent USDA Administrative review findings and any resulting changes. If the agency has not received a SMI review from the state agency with the past three years, the agency will request from the state agency that an Administrative review be scheduled as soon as possible.

The Executive Director or designee will develop a summary report every three years on agency compliance with the agency’s established nutrition and physical activity wellness policies, based on input from facilities. That report will be provided to the Southeast Alabama Youth Services Board of Directors and also distributed to the agency health council.

Policy Review: To help with the initial development of the agency’s wellness policies, each facility will conduct a baseline assessment of the programs existing nutrition and physical activity environments and policies. The results of those individual assessments will be compiled by the agency to identify and prioritize needs.

Assessments will be repeated every three years to help review policy compliance, assess progress, and determine areas in need of improvement. As part of that review, the agency will review the nutrition and physical activity policies; provision of an environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity policies; provision of an environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity; and nutrition and physical education policies and program elements. The agency, and individual school and programs within the agency, will, as necessary, revise the wellness policies and develop work plans to facilitate their implementation.  


VI. Resources for Local School Wellness Policies on Nutrition and Physical Activity