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Watch: Experts say children struggled with orphanhood, other impacts internationally

| May 2, 2022 |

Nearly 52 million children around the world have been documented with childhood COVID and more than 7 million have lost a caregiver to the pandemic. 

In our KCC panel on Global Health and Secondary Impacts, experts called for increased funding, coordination, and tracking of new and existing programs to deal with the simultaneous worldwide crises of orphanhood, educational gaps, violence against children, and other results of the pandemic that go beyond vaccines and death.

For some mind-boggling stats, check out our fact sheet.


Watch: Fixing the severed school lifeline

| April 28, 2022 |

In the chaotic onset of the coronavirus pandemic, school nutrition leaders appealed to the Trump Administration to let them handle the crisis as if it were a natural disaster, a change that would have allowed more food to flow to more children and to their families. The answer was no.

“We need to sit down and figure out how to do this not if but when it happens again,” Katie Wilson, Executive Director at Urban School Food Alliance, told First Focus on Children’s Kids and COVID Conversation panel on Education and Nutrition this week. “There is a way, we do it with natural disasters, why we thought this was different, I don’t know. So many families were in need, almost instantaneously. They were looking to schools as a safe place.”

For millions of children, schools provide a lifeline — to education, food, health care, and other services. As they scrambled to reach students and their families during the pandemic, school officials entered uncharted territory. During our final panel on Kids and COVID, educators examined what went right, what went wrong and how to help the nation’s schools — and its students — recover. Their recommendations include:

Leverage school meal programs

School nutrition employees began feeding students curbside within 24 hours of school closures, Wilson said. To leverage the full potential of school meal programs, now and during future disasters, she recommends eliminating the income test for school meal programs and providing universal school meals. “It’s the only thing in a school building where a child’s family income impacts whether they get access to a service,” she said. In addition, during future disasters, the government should allow schools to serve the community as a whole, rather than adhere to per meal reimbursement and other restrictions of school meals, she said, which would allow them to reach more people more efficiently.

Cultivate a school-based health care workforce

The majority of school-based health centers remained open during the pandemic, School-Based Health Alliance CEO Robert Boyd told the panel, and provided critical primary care, mental health care, COVID and vaccine education, and shot clinics. Many centers also initiated or expanded telehealth services, he said, including for mental health. To maintain and build on this success, Boyd recommends cultivating a steady workforce by channeling students into the profession as early as middle school and using the public university infrastructure to train them. Workforce is the No. 1 issue in health care in schools — as in other health care settings — Boyd said.

Create more community school coordinators

Community schools — which are public schools that partner with local organizations to connect students, families, and the larger community to each other and to resources — played a critical role during the pandemic, said José Muñoz, Director of the Coalition of Community Schools. In places like Asheville, N.C., Oakland, Calif., Skokie, Ill., and Cincinnati, community schools rallied to provide family food boxes, resiliency kits for kids, vaccine clinics, after-school programming, and other needed services. To build on that success, Muñoz said, the country needs more “community school coordinators,” which he described as the equivalent of a director of operations. “Think about the power of the public school,” he said. “Every single day you have access to people that live in a broader community. We’re way under-utilizing the power of the public school community. But it has to be someone’s job every day.” Muñoz cited a study in Albuquerque that found that every $1 invested in community school coordinators delivered a $7.11 return on investment.

In the end, panelists offered one overarching takeaway from their pandemic experience: “Feed all kids. Educate all kids. Provide free health care to all kids who need it,” Boyd said. “It’s that simple. We’re the greatest country in the world. It’s a sin. It’s a shame. It’s a travesty to not take care of our kids. Let’s keep the focus on the kids. They’re the future.”


Watch: Studies show Children enjoyed more stable lives with pandemic aid

| April 20, 2022 |

Analysts from Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan have found that federal pandemic assistance helped close the persistent gap in material hardship for U.S. families with children and that the advances stuck even in the face of rising inflation.

“The concerns over rising prices have dominated the headlines, but those concerns need to be placed in conversation with the gains of low-income households,” Patrick Cooney, Assistant Director of Economic Mobility for Poverty Solutions, told this week’s Kids and COVID panel on the pandemic’s economic impact

In fact, Poverty Solutions found that stimulus payments and safety net improvements such as increased unemployment benefits placed the average U.S. household — and especially low-income households — in a better financial position in 2020 and throughout 2021 than in 2019. Material hardship persisted however for households with children — a gap that was narrowed by the improved Child Tax Credit. The improved CTC expired at the end of 2021.

“When we look at all the things we should be doing, that’s the piece that’s most obvious we need to get done,” Cooney said.

The perpetual caveat, of course, is that the recovery is uneven. Women, and especially low-income women and women of color, have borne the brunt of pandemic job losses, said Julie Vogtman, Director of Job Quality for the National Women’s Law Center. The stimulus measures helped children eat, go to school, and remain housed during the pandemic, she added, but they weren’t designed to combat the structural barriers to economic security that women faced long before the pandemic began, such as lack of child care and wage inequality.

“Care infrastructure investments are the thing we cannot give up on,” she said. “We need to finally treat child care like the public good that it is and invest in it accordingly.”

Older and former foster youth — often called transition-age youth (TAY) — benefitted from improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), said Anna Johnson, an associate director with John Burton Advocates for Youth, who called on Congress to make these changes permanent. These 18-24-year-olds experience the highest rates of unemployment, she said, and will take the longest to rejoin the workforce and recover income losses. Advocates helped 147 current and former foster youth claim nearly $370,000 in federal and state refunds in the filing cycle that ended this week, she said. The average return will be $2555 per person.

“This isn’t pocket change,” she said. “They go and pay off their debts, they buy food for their kids and they fix their car so they can go to work. We need this to be ongoing to recover.”

Resources referenced during the session:

University of Michigan:  Material Hardship and Well-Being of U.S. Households at the End of 2021

From NWLC/Julie Vogtman:

Resilient But Not Recovered

https://nwlc.org/resource/resilient-but-not-recovered-after-two-years-of-the-covid-19-crisis-women-are-still-struggling/

We Are the Backbone: Faces of Care campaign

https://nwlc.org/resource/we-are-the-backbone-faces-of-the-care-nation/

Watch: Epidemiologist urges holistic approach to childhood COVID

| April 14, 2022 |

Epidemiologist Theresa Chapple brought us an out-of-the-box perspective on this week’s Kids And COVID Conversation, starting with the consequences of comparing childhood COVID to the adult experience.

“When we’re looking at asthma, we really focus in on childhood asthma and what that means, and the impact childhood asthma has on missing school and quality of life for children,” Dr. Chapple said during First Focus on Children’s conversation about physical health and vaccinations. “It makes really good sense to have these conversations where we’re drilling in on children and not comparing them to adults but comparing them to what a healthy childhood is like.”

This unfortunate comparison set off a cascade of events, Dr. Chapple said, including low child vaccination rates, underestimates of COVID’s social, emotional, and physical impact on children, misinterpretations of educational outcomes, and a host of other challenges for children.

Questions we should be asking:

  • What happens when kids gets COVID? What are the specific physical impacts? How does fear of the disease — and of infecting people they love — affect their well-being? COVID is now among the top 10 causes of death in children. “That does not get said enough,” Dr. Chapple said. “Children with COVID can have life-changing events.”
  • Are we measuring the right things? “Deaths and hospitalizations are the tip of the iceberg,” Dr. Chapple said. “We need to drill down further – what happens before death? What happens before hospitalizations?”
  • What is our goal as a community? As the United States? “From a public health perspective, I wonder why our goal isn’t to prevent transmission, to keep people from getting the disease,” Dr. Chapple said, citing arguments of personal choice about vaccination and other mitigations. “Do we want to focus on individual protections? Or should we be focusing on protecting the health of our communities? These are real conversations that need to happen.”

Recommendations:

  • Overhaul data collection: Home tests, lack of household transmission numbers, and the persistent view that COVID is not a big deal in kids have created a lack of documentation for core data that could help medical experts evaluate developmental delays and other residual effects years from now. “Policies that encourage appropriate data collection and testing among children is the number one thing we need,” Dr. Chapple said.
  • Make system-level mitigations: Every car has airbags. Every school, child care center, bouncy house, indoor play space, and other child-centered venue should have adequate ventilation.
  • Reduce class sizes: Individual attention is among the many reasons that smaller classes benefit children, Dr. Chapple said. Inhibiting the transmission of COVID is just one more.

To register for future Kids And COVID Conversations, sign up here. To watch all of the Kids And Covid Conversation Series check out our website.


Watch: Child poverty experts outline successful strategies

| April 12, 2022 |

Earlier today, the U.S. Child Poverty Action Group, GRACE & End Child Poverty California campaign, and the First Focus Campaign for Children hosted a virtual event, Ending Child Poverty at the Federal and State Level

We were joined by six Congressional champions on child poverty — Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Danny Davis, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, Rep. Sara Jacobs, and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard — and learned about recent wins across the country and how child advocates can take action to build on these efforts to urge Congress to pass the Child Poverty Reduction Act (S. 643/H.R. 1558) and establish a national child poverty reduction target in the United States.

I also discussed these efforts with an expert panel featuring Shimica Gaskins, President & CEO, GRACE & End Child Poverty CA, Crystal Charles, Policy Analyst, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, and Carmen Isaura Rodriguez, Director of Advocacy, Instituto del Desarrollo de la Juventud (Youth Development Institute).

The recent progress made in reducing child poverty in the United States shows us that child poverty is a solvable problem when there is the political will to address it.  Yet the fact that the 2021 improvements to the Child Tax Credit have yet to be extended, despite their documented effectiveness and popularity, shows that we need to do more to hold our national, state, and local decision-makers accountable for keeping child poverty reduction a top priority.

California provides a strong example for the rest of the country.  After advocates, lawmakers, and researchers came together in 2017 to set a state child poverty reduction target and develop a comprehensive plan to meet this goal, the End Child Poverty in California campaign secured significant policy wins in the past few years that are having a big impact on reducing child poverty and racial and economic disparities. New York and Puerto Rico have recently followed suit with similar efforts.

For those who are interested, here are the few of the resources discussed during the session:


Watch: “Survivor mode” is go-to for immigrant families during pandemic

| April 7, 2022 |

Advocates for children of immigrants are calling on lawmakers to eliminate restrictions that create — and perpetuate — barriers to support and services.

One-quarter of all children in the United States have an immigrant parent and more than 6 million citizen children live with a family member who is undocumented. While school closures, family sickness, job loss, and other elements of the COVID-19 pandemic affected all the country’s children, panelists at our Kids & COVID Conversation this week said mixed status families struggled with added burdens on their mental, physical and economic health.

“They constantly live in ‘survivor mode,’ even before COVID,” said Muleba Sumbwe, wellness resource coordinator for UndocuBlack Network who is also the child of undocumented immigrants.

Many of the federal government’s COVID relief programs excluded mixed status families and often their citizen children. These families, many of whom pay U.S. taxes, disproportionately staffed the frontlines of the pandemic as “essential workers” and disproportionately suffered from its health and financial stresses.

“We are here in this country, we are part of the economy, so to feel that we don’t have the support in the pandemic, it was hard,” said Evelyn Ramos, co-chair of the immigration policy committee at United Parent Leaders Action Network. “I used some of my savings to pay rent and a few things…I don’t ask for resources for me, but obviously, I have two daughters born here and they deserve to have resources.”

State and county governments often filled the gaps, the panelists said, but lack of information, transportation challenges, and work schedules often made it difficult for immigrant parents to access these services.

Mental Health

Even before the pandemic, the rise of anti-immigrant rhetoric and hostile policies of the Trump Administration, such as the expanded public charge rule, saddled many children in mixed status families with mental health challenges. The new fears and isolation of the pandemic exacerbated these issues and the unique challenges faced by these communities.

“When things shut down, many families didn’t have the tech or broadband needed to be connected to their healthcare providers, including their mental health providers,” said Gabriella Barbosa, a daughter of immigrants who is managing policy director of The Children’s Partnership. These families also struggle with a lack of mental health providers who reflect the cultures, languages, and diversity of the country’s immigrant families, she added.

Vaccinations

Mixed status families also faced myriad barriers to getting vaccinated, panelists said, including lack of access to health care, lack of transportation, and translation issues as well as elemental distrust of the vaccine system among some communities of color. To overcome these barriers, community-based organizations hosted information sessions, used social media and other “interactive advocacy” techniques, and brought the vaccines to trusted community spaces that families already frequent and can access easily.

United Parent Leaders Action Network organized a children’s vaccination event that used colorful, bilingual fliers and chose a venue that was familiar and comfortable to the community. “And we used the magical words ‘free, no ID necessary, no insurance needed,’” Ramos said.

Removing Barriers

To undo the damage of the pandemic and ensure that children of immigrants receive the medical, financial, and other support they need, panelists recommended continued outreach to make families aware of the benefits to which they are entitled, engaging attorneys, teachers, doctors, and other trusted community members in spreading information, and eliminating all restrictions that prevent immigrant families from accessing economic, health care, nutrition, and other benefits through legislation such as the Lift the Bar Act, which would eliminate the 5-year waiting period currently required before legally present immigrants can access Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, nutrition programs, and other services. For more information, see our Fact Sheet on the Lift the Bar Act.To view the full conversation, visit this link.

To register for future Kids And COVID Conversations, sign up here. To watch all of the Kids And Covid Conversation Series check out our website.


Watch: Pandemic opportunities — and missteps — in child welfare and youth justice

| March 31, 2022 |

The COVID-19 pandemic offered golden opportunities — and inflicted new missteps — on the country’s child welfare and youth justice systems, experts and advocates said during this week’s installment of First Focus on Children’s Kids & COVID Conversation Series.

With no option for social distancing in congregate care facilities experts engaged in “creative thinking,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, executive director of the Youth Law Center, and began evaluating alternatives to detention and institutional settings. Fewer children were admitted to these centers, more were placed in the community, and many were released.

“There’s something very hopeful in the fact that when an emergency hit the system, we didn’t need to lock up as many kids,” said Joshua Rovner, senior advocacy associate at The Sentencing Project.

But inside the youth justice system, conditions grew worse: Infected children were isolated in solitary confinement; staffing shortages curtailed access to food, care, and monitoring; the end of parental, educational, and other visits further isolated these children. Racial and ethnic disparities grew as bias influenced who was released and who was kept behind.

“What became crystal clear if it wasn’t already is that these places are not places for children to grow up,” said Rodriguez, who characterized the failure to learn from the successes of the children who were outplaced as a “missed opportunity.”

The panel urged policymakers to preserve and integrate innovations in both the child welfare and youth justice systems that delivered positive results, including:

  • Virtual hearings: While not appropriate in all cases, virtual hearings allowed children and parents to participate in their cases remotely. “Virtual hearings have their place and may be an innovation that helps courtrooms be more accessible,” said Allison Green, legal director at the National Association of Counsel for Children.
  • Access to devices for children in extended foster care: Traditionally treated as contraband, during the pandemic devices to access the internet were seen as a gateway to family, connections, education, visits with social workers, and court proceedings.
  • Detention as a “step of last resort:” In Maryland, for example, court officials issued guidance that created a 40% drop in overall commitment and detention of youth. The guidance discouraged detention unless the child posed a threat to public safety.

“To the extent that we can keep that same mindset, I think that’s going to be the challenge of the movement,” said James Dold, founder of Human Rights for Kids.

Other panelists included Shereen White, director of advocacy and policy at Children’s Rights, Tony Parsons, federal policy specialist at Youth Villages, and First Focus on Children’s senior director for child welfare and youth justice Aubrey Edwards-Luce.

To register for future Kids And COVID Conversations, sign up here. To watch all of the Kids And Covid Conversation Series check out our website.


Watch: A Conversation on Child & Youth Homelessness

| March 24, 2022 |

Child and youth homelessness has been on the rise even before the pandemic. Pre-COVID, an estimated 1-in-41 school-age children were homeless, while young children — those under 6 — experience twice that rate with 1-in-18 living in homeless situations. Homelessness is even more prevalent among children of color —Black, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian and Alaskan high school students disproportionately experience homelessness compared to their white or Asian peers. Millions more children and youth remain at-risk of eviction and homelessness – over 8 million renters with children in their household reported last month that they have little or no confidence in their ability to pay next month’s rent.

The pandemic and its economic fallout continue to have the most impact on those that were already struggling, and we know that school closures, loss of parental employment, and the general upheaval caused by COVID-19 was particularly tough for children and youth who are in households with nowhere safe to quarantine or do remote learning, plus little access to technology and no economic reserves to weather these tough times.

While we don’t yet have national numbers yet on the rate of child and youth homelessness for both years of the pandemic, some early analysis shows that the very likely increase in child and youth homelessness in most areas due to COVID is going to prove hard to measure.  A survey from SchoolHouse Connection and the University of Michigan found that 420,000 fewer students experiencing homelessness nationally were identified and enrolled in school in the early 2020-2021 school year due to the inability of schools to identify homeless children and youth while schools were closed.  

The panelists had several recommendations to address and prevent child, youth, and family homelessness, including:

Barbara Duffield, Executive Director of SchoolHouse Connection: “We, along with First Focus Campaign for Children, Family Promise and the National Network for Youth, strongly champion the Homeless Children and Youth Act (H.R. 6287/S.1469), which is legislation that would amend the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition of homelessness to include children, youth, and families that are identified as homeless by other federal programs that have a more inclusive definition of homelessness.  This is long overdue, and particularly in the pandemic, it is very very necessary. I think there is a perception out there that staying with other people is a less vulnerable situation but that’s not what we see for families and children.”

Katrina Bostick, Executive Director of Family Promise of the Coastal Empire:  “We need to take a look at policies around mental health and making sure that the children that we serve, the young adults and the adults that we serve, have adequate access to healthcare and mental health because that is important and when families experience trauma, it can be lifelong.”

Please listen to the recording of this conversation for more information, and see below for important resources referenced during the conversation:

This session was a part of a comprehensive series of conversations throughout the months of March and April 2022. We will continue to hear from experts, advocates, and policy leaders to discuss all of the ways this crisis has impacted the lives of children — from education and juvenile justice, housing to child poverty, nutrition, and global health — and we welcome you to join us for these live, interactive conversations. Click here to register.


One year ago, we proved that we know how to end child poverty — we can’t stop now.

| March 24, 2022 |

2021 was a landmark year for reducing child poverty in the United States. One-year improvements to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) included in the American Rescue Plan Act reduced child poverty by close to 30 percent, keeping 3.7 million children from experiencing poverty at the end of 2021. CTC payments promise an outsized impact on reducing poverty for Black and Hispanic children, many of whom were previously ineligible for the full credit.

Frustratingly, the lapse of these payments pushed nearly 4 million children back into poverty in January. While we continue to fight for a swift and robust extension of the temporary improvements to both the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, we also continue working to ensure that families with children, and youth on their own, are able to receive the rest of the credits they are due during this year’s tax season.

Families with children were only able to receive half of their CTC through advanced monthly payments distributed from July through December 2021 and can now claim the remainder at tax time by filing a tax return. For youth who are newly eligible for the enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit, this tax time is the first time they are able to claim it.

Some families passed up the monthly advance payments, opting instead to receive the full CTC at tax time, largely out of fear they would owe money back to the IRS. Other households were unable to access all or even some of the advance monthly payments they are eligible for and may now be due for a sizable CTC. This situation particularly holds true for families with little or no income. Many families in deep poverty do not normally file taxes and therefore did not automatically receive these payments. The IRS also was unable to reach some families who move frequently due to housing instability, homelessness, domestic violence, or other challenges. Some immigrant families opted out of advance payments due to significant fear that they would affect the immigration status of some members of the household. In addition, parents or caretakers with babies born at some point in 2021 were not able to claim the CTC for their babies until now.

Children of color saw a significant reduction in poverty in 2021 — a 26 percent reduction for Black children and 30 percent Hispanic children — but a much greater reduction in the racial wealth gap is possible if all eligible families can access the amount of the CTC that they are due. The Census Household Pulse Survey and other sources indicate that the advance CTC payments helped families afford food, pay bills, buy school supplies, clothes and holiday presents, pay off debt, and build savings. Food insecurity dropped by one-third after the payments began in July 2021.

Enhancements to the EITC included lowering the age of eligibility to 18 for youth without children who experienced foster care or homelessness and were working or enrolled in full-time education, to 19 for all other adults without qualifying children and increasing the amount of the credit. These temporary improvements — which are expected to benefit up to 500,000 former foster youth — will provide these young people with some of the economic support that their peers receive from parents and family members. The EITC can help young people pay for transportation to and from job training, school, or community-based support.

It is critical to note that families and youth must file a tax return to receive both the CTC and the EITC — even if they have no tax liability. The IRS recently sent out letters with the amounts that families already received in advance CTC payments so they can input that information when filing to determine how much they are still owed, but these letters may not have reached all families and there have been reports about potential errors in these letters. As a result, many families are likely to need assistance in figuring out the amount of their tax credit and should go to childtaxcredit.gov or getyourrefund.org where they will be directed to information about different filing options and available assistance through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs.

This National Taxpayer Advocate’s (NTA) blog post also has helpful information on the temporary EITC changes benefitting youth and encourages filers to file electronically and as early as they can.  The NTA also underscores the importance of checking the box on line 27 of their tax return to indicate the filer is a qualified former foster youth or a qualified homeless youth who is experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and who is self-supporting. 

The government plans to publish a simplified filing tool after tax time for families with little or no income, who are not required to file a full tax return, so they may claim their CTC balance. This tool will not be available for the Earned Income Tax Credit, making it even more important for many households with children and qualified youth without children to file a tax return.

Notably, these tax credits do not affect a family’s eligibility for other benefits or the immigration status of anyone in the household.

Some families may have complex tax returns. Changes in child custody or income in 2021 could affect the amount some families will actually receive — or potentially owe back to the government — although low-income households should be largely protected from having to return overpayments. Other households may be subject to government offsets for child support arrears or other money owed to the government, as well as garnishment by private creditors unless prohibited by state or local law. Past due student loans are exempt. More information can be found on the IRS website here. Help filing those complex returns can be found through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs around the country.

Congress enacted the American Rescue Plan one year ago this month, generating a wealth of data that underscores the benefit of regular cash transfers and the significant success of the temporary CTC improvements. Families with children reported that the payments provided a lifeline for making ends meet and made them finally feel recognized and understood by lawmakers.

We must continue urging Congress to extend those CTC improvements as it revisits an economic package this spring, and to permanently adopt this policy change that has proven its ability to cut child poverty, improve child well-being, address racial disparities, and reduce hardship.

For more information on improvements to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit and ways you can urge Congress to act, visit these resources:


Kids and Covid: A conversation on mental health

| March 18, 2022 |

“Teens are talking and we need you to listen.”

Seventeen-year-old mental health advocate Trace Terrell called on Congress to create a national peer-to-peer teen crisis line during First Focus on Children’s inaugural Kids and Covid Conversation today, which examined — and proposed solutions for — the mental health crisis afflicting the country’s children and young people.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated fissures in the mental health of our nation’s youth. Mental health emergencies among U.S. teens jumped 31% in 2020, and suicide now ranks 5th among the top 15 causes of death in children. More than 243,000 U.S. children are grieving the loss of a caregiver due to COVID. Yet almost none of the nation’s schools have the recommended number of mental health professionals serving in them.A

Terrell and his fellow panelists strongly recommended bringing services to where the children are — schools, pediatrician’s offices, child care centers — and offered additional remedies:

  • Miriam Calderón (Zero To Three): Recognize that babies and toddlers experience mental health challenges and develop the workforce to serve them and other children and youth. Uplift programs that improve the physical and mental well-being of all children, like the Child Tax Credit, early learning, and child care programs.
  • Dr. Sharon Hoover, PhD. (University of Maryland School of Medicine): Strengthen the role of schools in mental health promotion, prevention and intervention. Research has shown that youth are six times more likely to initiate and complete mental health treatment in schools than in community settings. “Every adult in the school building and every peer in the building plays a role in mental health,” she said.
  • Scott Hutchins (Michigan Department of Education): Increase the number of mental health professionals in schools and integrate the program with existing systems — such as Medicaid — to make them reimbursable and sustainable. Michigan began building its school-based mental health services with a $30 million investment in FY 2019 — just $20 per student. This year, the $300+ million effort has more than 1,400 service providers in schools across the state.

In addition, the session was opened by U.S. Senator Tina Smith, a Champion for Children and a longtime advocate for youth mental health who has introduced legislation to tackle this problem specifically in schools.

See below for important resources mentioned during the session:

This session was a part of a comprehensive series of conversations throughout the months of March and April 2022. We will continue to hear from experts, advocates, and policy leaders to discuss all of the ways this crisis has impacted the lives of children — from education and juvenile justice, housing to child poverty, nutrition, and global health — and we welcome you to join us for these live, interactive conversations. Click here to register.