I commend the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for its policy statement encouraging pediatricians to work toward reducing food insecurity. As the statement notes, food insecurity carries serious implications for health and well-being, and pediatricians are well-positioned to address this critical issue. I share the AAP’s commitment to identifying families experiencing food insecurity and connecting them to community resources. Doing so can make an important difference for children and families.

However, to benefit from a conversation with and referrals from pediatricians, families must be forthcoming about their food insecurity. In my doctoral research, I have conducted in-depth interviews with nearly 60 low-income, racially diverse mothers in Providence, Rhode Island, about their perceptions of social and health care services. In interviews, mothers described carefully managing information shared with authorities, concerned about revealing vulnerabilities that might lead to scrutiny and potentially a child welfare report. Indeed, failure to provide a child with...

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