Resources

Key Stats on the Effect of COVID-19 on Kids

Child Abuse & Neglect
Child Care
Child Rights
Children of Immigrants
Early Childhood
Education
Federal Budget
Health
Housing & Homelessness
Juvenile Justice
Nutrition
Poverty & Family Economics
Racial Equity
Safety
Tax Policy

The COVID-19 pandemic is doing more than exposing the racial, ethnic, and economic disparities existing in our society; it is compounding them, and so we must employ a robust, near- and long-term approach to manage this unprecedented dual public health and economic crisis. The pandemic and resulting economic crisis are falling hardest on the most vulnerable among us, including our children. These crises are disrupting every facet of children’s lives, and we cannot yet know all of the negative and long-lasting implications they will have on children’s healthy development and future success.

Native American, Hispanic, Black, and other communities of color are facing disproportionate suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic with levels of infection, disease burden, and mortality rates higher than those for whites and economic hardship landing heaviest on Black and Hispanic households. Because of longstanding systemic and institutional racism and its ongoing effect on maternal and infant mortality, and policies related to housing, education, child welfare, employment, immigration, the environment, and access to high-quality health care, children in Native American, Black, Hispanic, and other communities of color are experiencing worsened consequences from COVID-19 and the subsequent economic crisis.

Below are some key indicators and resources that we have so far regarding the effect of COVID-19 on child well-being, both in the United States and across the globe:

Economic Hardship and Hunger

Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, child poverty remained stubbornly high in the United States and we continue to have higher rates of child poverty than many of our peer countries. Child poverty disproportionately hurts children of color as systemic and institutional racism keeps some children and families in poverty for generations. And now, the public health emergency and economic downturn are serving to expose and further exacerbate this hardship, with the highest rates for Black and Latino children due to widespread job and income losses, meaning more children will be put at risk of long-lasting harm to their healthy development. While assistance provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security (CARES) Act likely mitigated a spike in child poverty earlier this year, we know that this assistance has expired and severe economic hardship continues for millions of households with children.

Government data on poverty in the United States only comes out on an annual basis (data for 2019 was just released this past September). So while we don’t have Census data on the effect of COVID-19 on child poverty, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and several research institutions have released current estimates of child poverty as well as projections of increases through the end of 2020. We also have extensive data from several sources that detail how COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting households with children, especially households of color.

During the ongoing global pandemic, the share of children with an unemployed parent (defined as jobless and looking for work) has reached historic highs in the US and this economic volatility could lead to a range of harmful outcomes for our children. The public health and economic emergencies are widening income inequality and the economic hardships are falling heavier on households with children because they experience higher rates of job loss and decreased wages. This remains particularly true for single-parent households. As a result, these families with children experience greater economic insecurity, more financial stress and inability to make ends meet with increased rates of missed rent payments and food insufficiencies.  This economic fallout likely will have long-lasting negative consequences for children’s healthy development and well-being.  Families with children will rely more heavily on social networks and government support, and this reliance on the social safety net will continue for some time as we work to control the coronavirus outbreak and revive a very sluggish economy.

This is leading to increased economic inequality. According to the Pew Research Center, since 1981, the incomes of the top 5% of earners have grown more rapidly than the incomes of other families.  According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, income inequality in the U.S. is the highest of all G7 nations. Income inequality and wage stagnation continue to deny economic mobility and income security to the lowest income households in the United States and the coronavirus outbreak and economic downturn are deepening this income divide. Due to systemic racism, this income inequality disproportionally is affecting minority communities.

We know that this spike in severe economic hardship has resulted in a spike in childhood hunger. In 2019, the USDA found that nearly 10.7 million children lived in food-insecure households. Since the onset of the pandemic in March, nearly 14 million children are not getting enough to eat. Congress was able to establish some policies to alleviate the problem, such as the Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) program, which provides families with benefits to help make up for free and subsidized meals for children that were lost when schools shut down. In the week after the program began, P-EBT prevented at least 2.7 million children from going hungry. While this program was just extended into next year, more is needed for struggling families. Poor nutrition in childhood can have long-lasting effects on the healthy development of children, meaning the impacts of this crisis will be felt for years to come.

U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey Data

Weeks 15 and 16 of data collection – September 16 – October 12

  • Over seven million adults in households with children reported that children in the household often or sometimes did not have enough to eat.
  • 18 percent of adults in households with children were behind on rent
  • As of the end of August, more than half of adults in households with children (51 percent) report that they or another member of the household have lost employment income since the start of the pandemic.

Monthly Poverty Rates in the United States during the COVID-19 Pandemic – Columbia University Center on Poverty & Social Policy

October 15, 2020

  • An additional 2.5 million children in poverty since May due to COVID-19.   Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, 20.4 percent of children were living in poverty as of September 2020.

Projections of Poverty and Program Eligibility during the COVID-19 Pandemic – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)

October 2020

  • Child poverty is projected to increase by 25 percent to a rate of 19.1 percent by December 2020 (using the Official Poverty Measure). In addition, eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for children will increase by 9.2 percent and for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program by 6.6 percent between August and December 2020.

Without Additional Support, Nearly Four Million Children Younger Than 6 Will Experience Poverty This Fall – Urban Institute

October 30, 2020

  • If Congress had passed three critical provisions from the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act – extending supplemental Unemployment Insurance benefits, increasing SNAP benefits, and providing an expanded second round of Economic Impact payments, 1.5 million young children (under 6) could have avoided experiencing poverty between August and December 2020.

The CARES Act and Poverty in the COVID-19 Crisis – Columbia University Center on Poverty & Social Policy

June 2020

  • Provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, specifically, expanded Unemployment Insurance benefits and the Economic Impact payments, likely mitigated a spike in childhood poverty. Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), child poverty before the pandemic was 13.3 percent and about 13.7 percent after implementation of the CARES Act (assuming that 60-70 percent of households eligible for these benefits were able to access them).  Without these provisions, child poverty would be 18.3 percent.

Rapid Assessment of Pandemic Impact on Development Survey – Early Childhood (RAPID-EC) at University of Oregon

Mid-August 2020, (after expiration of the assistance provided in the CARES Act)

  • 42 percent of households with young children anticipate having difficulty paying for basic needs
  • Black (59 percent), Latinx (61 percent), and single-parent households with young children (60 percent) have the highest rates of anticipated difficulty in paying for basic needs
  • Two-thirds of households with young children living at below 150% (about $36,000 for a family of four with two children) of the poverty line are having difficulty of paying for basic needs
  • One-third of middle and upper-income households with young children are having trouble paying for basic needs.

The Impact of Coronavirus on Households with Children – NPR, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

July 1 to August 3, 2020

  • During the coronavirus outbreak, more than one in five households with children (23%) report missing or delaying paying any major bills to ensure everyone had enough to eat and a majority of those households (70%) reported this caused serious financial problems for them.
  • About one in six households with children (22%) report serious problems affording food since the coronavirus outbreak began, while fewer than one in ten (8%) report serious problems not getting enough food to eat every day.
  • Fewer than one in ten households with children (6%) report receiving help from the local government for serious problems they have had since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • About one in ten (9%) report receiving help from nonprofit groups, churches, or neighbors with serious problems they have had during this time.

Health

Though initially dismissed, the impact of COVID-19 on children’s health is serious and sometimes fatal. Children with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic, mildly sick, or end up hospitalized. Their care, regardless of the virus’ outcome, must be covered by Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or private insurance. Before the pandemic, children were losing health coverage at an alarming rate, and with parental job loss due to the economic crisis, that is likely increasing. Stay-at-home orders, taking precautions against the virus, and a loss of coverage made children especially vulnerable to poor health outcomes beyond getting the virus. Missed doctor’s appointments mean missed vaccinations, developmental screenings, lead testing, and referrals for vision, hearing, or speech evaluations. Children who may have received health services at school weren’t able to receive them. Though telemedicine filled some gaps, children have started to fall behind in receiving the health care they need.

COVID-19 affects all families regardless of race or ethnicity, but Hispanic children and Black children have been hurt the most. 75% of children who have died from COVID-19 have been Hispanic, Black, or American Indian – even though they represent only 41% of the U.S. child population. As their parents are over-represented as essential workers and may lack paid sick leave, children are more often exposed to the virus through family members. We must assure their health care needs are met and covered.

Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report – American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association 

November 12, 2020

  • Since March, 1,039,464 children have been infected with COVID-19, representing 11.5 percent of all cases 
  • From the two week period of October 29 to November 12, there was a 22 percent increase in child COVID-19 cases

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Data Tracker

Updated Daily

Hispanic/Latino Children Disproportionately Affected –

  • 39 percent of children ages 0-4 infected by COVID-19 are Hispanic/Latino
  • 35 percent of children 5-17 infected by COVID-19 are Hispanic/Latino
  • Black and Hispanic children are more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19. Black, non-Hispanic children had a hospitalization rate of 16.4 percent, Hispanic/Latino children had a hospitalization rate of 10.5 percent, compared to 2.1 percent of white children. –

Hospitalization Rates and Characteristics of Children under 18 Hospitalized with Confirmed COVID-19 – CDC

August 14, 2020

  • Nearly 36 percent of children 5-17 who die as a result of contracting COVID-19 are Hispanic/Latino
  • Over 30 percent children 5-17 who die as a result of contracting COVID-19 are Black, Non-Hispanic

COVID-Associated Deaths Among Persons Less than 21 Years of Age – CDC

September 15, 2020

  • Of the 121 children and teens that died, 45 percent were Hispanic, 29 percent were Black and 4 percent American Indian

Impact of COVID-19 on service utilization for children age 18 and under-enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

September 23, 2020

  • “The preliminary data shows that beneficiaries age 18 and under-enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP had relatively low treatment rates due to COVID-19. More than 250,000 children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP were tested for COVID-19 through June 2020, however only about 32,000 received treatment for COVID-19 and fewer than 1,000 were hospitalized for COVID-19 through the end of May.”
  • When compared to data from the same time period last year (March through May 2019), preliminary data for 2020 shows:
    •  1.7 million (22%) fewer vaccinations for beneficiaries up to age 2,
    • 3.2 million (44%) fewer child screening services,
    • 6.9 million (44%) fewer outpatient mental health services even after accounting for increased telehealth services, and
    • 7.6 million (69%) fewer dental services.

Eligibility for ACA Health Coverage Following Job Loss – Kaiser Family Foundation

May 13, 2020

Nearly 7 million people losing ESI and becoming uninsured are children, and the vast majority of them are eligible for coverage through Medicaid or CHIP.Within the 26.8 million people losing ESI and becoming uninsured in May 2020, 6.1 million are children. Because Medicaid/CHIP income eligibility limits for children are generally higher than they are for adults, the vast majority of these children are eligible for Medicaid/CHIP in May 2020 (5.5 million, or 89%) or January 2021 (5.8 million, or 95%).

Decline in Child Vaccination Coverage During the COVID-19 Pandemic – CDC

May 22, 2020

  • Up-to-date vaccinations in May 2020 were lower for children of all ages enrolled in Medicaid than children not enrolled in Medicaid

Kids’ lead testing plummets due to missed doctor visits in pandemic – CNN

September 10, 2020

  • In states including Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota, testing for the brain-damaging heavy metal fell by 50% or more this spring compared with 2019, health officials report.

Child Care

The child care industry and the families it serves were in great need of help before the COVID-19 epidemic began, and their situation is even more precarious now. Providers and families are struggling. Many providers will be unable to maintain full enrollment because of necessary reductions in class sizes and some families’ decisions not to send their children back to in-person settings yet. Child care providers of all types will have to secure personal protective equipment, install new ventilation systems, increase spacing between children and teachers, implement new health and safety standards, purchase additional cleaning supplies, and devise COVID-19 mitigation strategies and plans. Many will not be able to survive these challenges — thereby threatening our economic recovery — without additional federal support. And families are facing even scarcer child care options now than before the pandemic and many are less able to afford the cost. Our economy cannot function without child care – it is as essential to the functioning of our economy as roads and bridges, and it needs an investment that reflects its true value as a public good.

Table B-1 Employees by Nonfarm Payrolls by Industry Sector and Selected Industry Detail – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last modified October 5, 2020

  • In the first two months of the COVID-19 crisis alone, 336,000 child care employees lost their jobs, the vast majority of whom are women and disproportionately women of color

Holding on Until Help Comes report – National Association of Education of Young Children

July 13, 2020

  • Forty percent of all child care providers — and 50% of minority-owned child care businesses — will close permanently without additional financial assistance

Coronavirus Pandemic Could Lead to Permanent Loss of Nearly 4.5 Million Child Care Slots – Center for American Progress

April 24, 2020 

  • We may permanently lose up to half (4.5 million) of our existing child care slots.

Washington University in St. Louis, Social Policy Institute – Safe, Affordable Child Care is a Right, Not a Privilege

September 22, 2020

  • 24% of families with children reported losing a job/income due to a lack of suitable child care, and these effects were concentrated in Hispanic households, poor households, self-employed households, and households with very young children
  • More than one-third (37%) of parents said finding affordable child care during the pandemic was challenging

The True Cost of Providing Safe Child Care During the Coronavirus Pandemic – Center for American Progress

September 3, 2020

  • The cost of meeting enhanced health and safety requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic in center-based child care has increased by an average of 47 percent and an average of 70 percent for home-based care. Much of this added cost comes from increased personnel costs, the need for additional sanitation supplies, and necessary deep-cleaning of sites.

Growing Pandemic Challenges for Parents as Fall Approaches – Bipartisan Policy Center

August 26, 2020

  • More than 70% of parents surveyed reported that their child care program had either closed or was operating at reduced capacity.
  • 14% of child care centers and 8 percent of home-based providers have permanently closed nationwide.
  • 22% of those surveyed said they cannot return to work without child care.
  • Among families with incomes below $50,000, 72 percent of parents expressed difficulty in finding child care

Juvenile Justice

Hundreds of youth who are confined contracted COVID-19 despite the work that many jurisdictions did to reduce the number of youth who were confined or detained.  Very little comprehensive data about the impact of COVID-19 on youth in juvenile justice facilities exists, but available data from a sample of detention centers suggests that during the early months of the pandemic, the number of detained youth decreased significantly. While the total population of detained youth in surveyed facilities has remained stagnant since May, a closer look at the data shows that white youth are being released from detention faster than youth of color.

There is no national quantitative data on the impact that COVID-19 had on detained and confined youths’ education, mental and behavioral health, access to health services, contact with family members, timing of court hearings, and access to legal counsel. The New York Times and The Marshall Project have uncovered the lack of education and the stress and fear faced by pregnant youth, youth as young as 10 years old, and youth placed in solitary confinement conditions in order to quarantine in juvenile facilities. One Harvard Crimson article explained that compared to their peers, children in the juvenile justice system are more likely to have underlying health conditions which places them as an increased risk for having acute coronavirus complications. Until more data is gathered, we won’t know the impact these conditions are having on the health and mental wellbeing of the tens of thousands of youth who are in juvenile facilities.

COVID-19 in Juvenile Facilities – The Sentencing Project

November 17, 2020

  • As of mid-November, there were 2,333 known youth cases of COVID-19 diagnoses in juvenile facilities.

At Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dramatic and Rapid Reductions in Youth Detention – Annie E. Casey Foundation

April 23, 2020

  • Surveyed juvenile detention centers reported that their populations of young people reduced by 24% between March 1 and April 1.

Youth Detention Admissions Remain Low, But Releases Stall Despite COVID-19 – Annie E. Casey Foundation

July 8, 2020

  • The rate of decrease slowed a few months into the pandemic. Youth detention population in surveyed facilities increased by 6% between May 1, and June 1.
  • Approximately ⅓ of the young people in detention on June 1, 2020 would not have been there if the release rate had continued at the March level.
  • While youth of all ethnicities and races experienced a decline in population size, white youth in surveyed juvenile facilities benefited more from the faster release rate than Black youth. This has created disparities in juvenile justice release rates where the release rate for white youth was approximately 7% higher than Black youth.

Growing Numbers of Latino and Native Youth in Juvenile Detention Buck Trend – Annie E. Casey Foundation

September 23, 2020

  • Surveyed detention centers reported that youth in detention were about 3.5 times more likely to have COVID-19 than the rest of the US Population.
  • The population of youth in detention has been stagnant since May.
  • The population of white and Black youth in detention fell between May and August, but the population of Latinx and Native American youth in detention grew.

Child Welfare

The pandemic has exacerbated the numerous challenges that the child welfare system was already facing. Before the coronavirus, the system was just beginning to work out the implementation of the Families First Prevention Services Act. Multiple states were responding to the national foster care placement crisis spurred by the opioid epidemic by empowering kin to care for children. But then the pandemic and social distancing required prevention services to stop, be delayed, or modified into virtual formats. While some courts, like those in Michigan, started initiatives such as rapid reunification other families experienced delays in reunification. The difficulty of case management during the pandemic has set the stage for more child welfare agencies to avoid bringing children into foster care by forcing parents to give children to kin.

More data is needed to fully understand the effects of COVID-19 on children in foster care.  For example, we don’t know how many children and youth in foster care have had to change placements as a result of the pandemic, but this is a disruptive reality that some young parents in foster care have been forced to navigate. We also are lacking quantitative data on the pandemic’s impact on visits between children in foster care and their parents, the impacts COVID-19 has had on caseworkers, congregate care facilities, foster and kinship caregivers, and older youth. The sampling data we have suggest that the impacts have been broad and we hope that the results of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General survey of all states  will provide additional depths and details of the experiences of children receiving foster care services during the pandemic.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Youth from Foster Care A National Poll – Foster Club

May 13, 2020

  • In mid-May, Foster Club reported the following results of a survey completed by 613 youth from foster care and were now between the ages of 18-24:
    • 65% of respondents who had been working had lost their jobs.
    • Only half of the young people who had lost their jobs and applied for unemployment benefits actually received the benefit.
    • Nearly 20% of young people from foster care had run out of food.
    • Over half of the young people failed to receive a stimulus award.
    • 23% of young people from foster care reported being forced to move or being afraid that they were going to be forced to move due to the pandemic.
    • One in every 5 young people said that they were entirely on their own and didn’t have an adult to help them.
    • Approximately 15% of youth said that they were having trouble getting medical care and were struggling to get medication.

The Experiences of older youth In & Aged Out of Foster Care during COVID-19 – The Field Center, University of Pennsylvania

September 2020

  • This report presents findings from a literature review and a 281-respondent survey of older youth in or recently exited from foster care.

Immigration

Prior to the pandemic, newly-arrived and undocumented immigrant families and children faced multiple obstacles to accessing public benefits and economic opportunities that support health and well-being. In particular, the expansion of the public charge admissibility test in February 2020 and the misinformation surrounding it led many immigrant families to avoid or disenroll from benefits for which they were eligible–including benefits specifically for children. With the new public charge rule still in place during the pandemic and the exclusion of immigrant families from COVID-19 relief bills, children in immigrant families face more barriers to health care, food, stable housing, and financial stability–building long-standing inequities and denying help when they need it most. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has given the Administration a pretext to implement a long-desired policy agenda: prevent the entry of asylum-seeking children and families at the border.

Mapping Immigrants At-Risk for COVID-19 and Access to Healthcare – Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative

Updated regularly

  • Allows a mapping of where at-risk immigrant communities are in the United States, the relationship between those communities and COVID-19 infection rates, and access to health care in those communities. The map shows a correlation between immigrant communities, particularly those without health insurance or under the poverty line, and areas most impacted by COVID-19.

Mixed Status Families Ineligible for CARES Act Pandemic Stimulus Checks – Migration Policy Institute

May 2020

  • 3.7 million U.S. citizens and green card-holding children in mixed-status families were ineligible for stimulus checks, though at least one parent filed taxes using an ITIN.

Hispanic Adults in Families with Noncitizens Disproportionately Feel the Economic Fallout from COVID-19 – Urban Institute

May 2020

  • Families with noncitizens lost work-related income at 68.8 percent.
  • Families with noncitizens disproportionately put off major household purchases (62.9%), cut back spending on food (46.9%), or reduced saving or increased credit card debt (49.9%). Of the families who cut back on spending food, close to two-thirds (62.5%) had a child under 19 in the family.
  • Over half of the families with a noncitizen member worried about having food in the next month; of those, nearly two-thirds (64.5%) had children under 19 in the family.

Immigrant-Serving Organizations’ Perspectives on the COVID-19 Crisis – Urban Institute

August 2020

  • 40% of respondents reported cash as the first or second most pressing need among immigrant families, followed by food (38 percent), employment (37 percent) and housing (31 percent).
  • Respondents reported almost every or many immigrant families were avoiding federal programs implemented during the pandemic–43 percent were avoiding unemployment compensation, 34 percent were avoiding the Paycheck Protection Program, and 29 percent were avoiding stimulus payments
  • When asked the biggest reasons why local and state relief efforts were not effective to help low-income immigrant families, 77 percent of respondents stated that the exclusion of certain immigrant groups from relief efforts was the biggest reason, followed by limited funds (67%), and families’ fear of participating in programs (65%).

Nearly 9,000 Migrant Children Have Been Expelled Under Pandemic Border Policy, Court Documents Say – CBS News

September 11, 2020

  • As of September 11, 7,600 children in families have been expelled at the border under a CDC order prohibiting the entry of immigrants without authorization, including asylum seekers, families, and children.

Border Officials Turned Away Unaccompanied Immigrant Children More Than 13,000 Times Under Trump’s Pandemic Policy

October 28, 2020

  • Between March and October 2020, the Trump administration expelled 13,000 unaccompanied children under a CDC order

Flores v. Barr, Interim Report on the Use of Temporary Housing for Minors and Families under Title 42 – Independent Monitor and Dr. Paul Wise

Filed August 26, 2020

  • Between March 24 and July 31, 2020, 577 unaccompanied children and 83 families were held in hotels before being expelled at the border. The average length of stay for children in these hotels was 5 days.

International Children’s Issues

Globally, ninety-nine percent of the world’s children live with some form of pandemic-related movement restrictions (2.34 billion) and sixty percent of children live in countries with full or partial lockdowns (1.4 billion). Past crises have shown children often suffer disproportionately and the pandemic has widened already existing inequities. Children in the poorest countries, girls, and children with disabilities may be disproportionately affected.

Though the United States only spends .11% of its entire federal budget on programs that benefit children and youth abroad, the limited investment has made substantial progress improving the lives of millions of children and safeguarding their well-being.  However, the pandemic threatens all of the progress made in poverty reduction, health outcomes, education, and safety for children.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Children – UN Policy Brief

April 15, 2020

  • An estimated 42-66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the crisis this year, adding to the estimated 386 million children already in extreme poverty in 2019
  • 188 countries have imposed countrywide school closures, affecting more than 1.5 billion children and youth.
  • More than two-thirds of countries have introduced a national distance learning platform, but among low-income countries the share is only 30 percent. Before this crisis, almost one third of the world’s young people were already digitally excluded.
  • Rising malnutrition is expected as 368.5 million children across 143 countries who normally rely on school meals for a reliable source of daily nutrition must now look to other sources.
  • Lockdowns and shelter in place measures come with heightened risk of children witnessing or suffering violence and abuse. Children in conflict settings, as well as those living in unsanitary and crowded conditions such as refugee and internally displaced persons settlements, are also at considerable risk. Children’s reliance on online platforms for distance learning has also increased their risk of exposure to inappropriate content and online predators

Protecting Children in Armed Conflict – TheirWorld, Save the Children, and the University of Edinburgh

September 2020

  • An estimated 420 million children —  1 in 5 —  live in conflict zones today, with Syria, Yemen, Myanmar, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo prominent among them. In 2019, the United Nations SecretaryGeneral’s report on children and armed conflict verified 24,000 grave violations of children’s rights during the previous year with more than 1,000 attacks on schools and hospitals. COVID-19 is only likely to have exacerbated the vulnerabilities of children in conflict.

At least 80 million children at risk of disease as COVID-19 disrupts vaccination efforts, warn Gavi, WHO, and UNICEF

May 22, 2020

  • According to data collected by the WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, and the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the provision of routine immunization services is substantially hindered in at least 68 countries and is likely to affect approximately 80 million children under the age of one living in these countries.

The Other Way Covid Will Kill: Hunger – the New York Times

September 14, 2020

  • Worldwide, the number of children younger than 5 caught in a state of so-called wasting — their weight so far below normal that they face an elevated risk of death, along with long-term health and developmental problems — is likely to grow by nearly seven million this year, or 14 percent, according to a recent paper published in The Lancet, a medical journal.
  • Lockdowns imposed to halt the pandemic will this year deprive 250 million children in poor countries of scheduled supplements of Vitamin A, elevating the threat of premature death, according to UNICEF.
  • The virus has also forced the delay of other immunization programs, which are typically combined with doses of deworming medicine — another bulwark against malnutrition.

Updated estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on global poverty – World Bank

June 8, 2020

  • In the baseline scenario, COVID-19 will push 71 million into extreme poverty, measured at the international poverty line of $1.90 per day. With the downside scenario, this increases to 100 million.

Protect a Generation: The impact of COVID-19 on children’s lives- Save the Children

September 10, 2020

  • Child poverty stops children from having access to vital services including health and education, and can result in them being at a higher risk of violence, including child labour and child marriage.
  • Almost two-thirds of girls (63%) reported an increase in household chores and more than half (52%) reported an increase in time spent caring for siblings and others since the pandemic began. Girls reported that this stopped them from being able to study, at twice the rate of boys.
  • Nearly one third (32%) of households had a child, parent or caregiver who said that there had been physical or emotional violence in their home since the start of the pandemic.

Education

In March, schools were shut down with very little in the way of possible planning. However, months of time for planning has not brought a coherent response. On the national level, it remains difficult to evaluate the status of kids’ learning. Aggregate data is somewhat scarce, and conditions are changing at a rate that requires constant adaptive planning. Beyond that, conditions are unique on a district to district basis. Broadly, though, our schools are in crisis. States, and therefore schools, are facing massive budget deficits at the same time as increased costs related to staffing, online schooling, and preparation for a safe return to school. The question – to open schools (or keep them open) or not – remains unclear. However, some local officials have called the connection between school opening and COVID spikes tenuous and contended that the two aren’t correlated. Statistics from a number of schools show low infection rates among schools that have reopened.

A new research study pulling data from over 1000 schools affirms that schools can be a place of transmission, but there is little to show that they have driven spikes in transition rates in communities that have opened. Mitigation efforts, such as ventilation, sanitary measures, mask wearing, and more, remain vital. The study summarizes the debate concisely:

 “Debates are ongoing about how to best balance the potential benefit of reducing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, by closing schools or significantly modifying the schedule of in-person learning, against the very real consequences of such measures on student learning, indirect harms to students (e.g., lack of access to school-based feeding programs), and the considerable burden this places on parents and caregivers, particularly those who need to simultaneously work. The burden of these indirect effects is likely to fall disproportionally on lower income families and people of color.”

It is clear that we need to synthesize and balance two goals in our head – to ensure students do not lack the learning and support they get from school, and while avoiding infection to kids, teachers and non-teaching staff, and families. Disproportionate effects on lower income and Black, brown, and indigenous students and families are not a unique feature of the virus. They arise from a history of disinvestment from public schools and community support, as well as the overwhelming economic burden of poverty and stemming from large scale exploitation on the part of capital. COVID relief must include massive funds for public schools, Title I, McKinney-Vento, IDEA, and digital support in the form of E-rate to mitigate current harm while looking forward to a long fight to ensure a truly equitable education system. These funds will be necessary for teaching and non-teaching staff, students, administrators, and families to make the decision of how to conduct effective schooling as circumstances of the pandemic remain in flux.

Needed: Federal Aid to Reverse Deep Public-Sector Job Cuts, Including in Education – Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

September 10, 2020

States and localities are facing massive revenue losses due to the pandemic. This will, and already has, in some cases, translate to cuts from education. Impending austerity measures represent a massive threat to schools and education across the nation; in response, a COVID-19 relief package must provide substantial education aid.

  • As of August, about 1.1 million public-sector workers had lost their jobs since February, an estimated 668,000 (59 percent) of them in education. About 462,000 of the lost education jobs were in K-12 schools, with most of the rest in colleges and universities.
  •  Many states and localities have already cut K-12 spending — by more than $500 million in Colorado and nearly $1 billion in Georgia, for example. States such as Maryland, Missouri, and Nevada have cut college and university funding as well. These cuts translate into fewer teachers, instructional aides, and support staff.

The Digital Divide Among Students During COVID-19 – Center on Reinventing Public Education

June 16, 2020

  • Roughly one in five parents with homebound school-aged children say it is very likely or somewhat likely their children will not be able to complete their schoolwork because they do not have access to a computer at home (21 percent) or must use public wifi to finish their schoolwork because there is not a reliable internet connection at home (22 percent). And about three in ten parents (29 percent) report that it is at least somewhat likely their children will have to do their schoolwork on a cell phone.

COVID-19 has revealed the cost of disrupted education and child care inequality – Atlantic Council

September 14, 2020

Globally, and in America, school closures have led to a massive loss in income, and a widening of the gender gap, as mothers have largely been the ones to take over child care duties.

  • Globally, the (weighted average) estimated risk to GDP of school closures is an astounding 12-18 percent but the economic impact of school closures does not fall to students alone as income losses extend through families and households.
  • A recent World Bank research paper found alarming levels of potential losses both to individual earnings and gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of school closures. Low-income countries are facing calamitous damage with projected GDP losses up to 60 percent and a projected individual earnings gap of $2,833 that could equate up to $360 billion. Middle-income countries should also brace for significant losses; a 15 to 22 percent drop in GDP and up to $6.8 trillion in lost individual earnings of $6,777.

Advocates fear NYC child welfare probes could target families lacking tech – Chalkbeat New York

September 21, 2020

As students begin the school year, the question of equity arises in different ways. Here we see an intersection of two separate areas (education and welfare) where a policy failure (lack of action to bridge the homework gap) leads to the targeting of families. The digital divide is already far more likely to negatively impact students experiencing homelessness, and low-income households, as well as having a disparate impact on Black and brown students. These probes will likely be plagued by similar disparities.

  • Overall, public and private educators in the city filed more than 900 reports of child abuse or neglect to the State Central Registry between April and June, the data released by the city’s child welfare agency shows.
  •  65% of 517 educational neglect investigations were not substantiated — up from about 61% of 2,474 during the same period in 2019.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 11th-hour decision Thursday to again delay in-person classes that had been set to begin Monday ‘put a lot of children just in a situation where there’s a real likelihood that they won’t be logging on.’” This points to a broader problem. As schools begin to reopen, it is necessary they communicate and dialogue with families and communities, and students are supported in their going back to schools. Harshly enforced mandates will do more harm than good.

A nationwide divide: Hispanic and Black students more likely than white students to start the year online – Chalkbeat

September 11, 2020

  • Districts, where the vast majority of students are white, are more than three times as likely as school districts that enroll mostly students of color to be open for some in-person learning.

COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime – McKinsey & Company

June 1, 2020

  • If the Black and Hispanic student-achievement gap had been closed in 2009, our GDP would be $426 billion to $705 billion higher.
  • An additional 2 to 9 percent of high-school students could drop out as a result of the coronavirus and associated school closures—232,000 9th-to-11th graders (in the mildest scenario) to 1.1 million (in the worst one).
  • The average loss in our middle epidemiological scenario is seven months. But Black students may fall behind by 10.3 months, Hispanic students by 9.2 months, and low-income students by more than a year. We estimate that this would exacerbate existing achievement gaps by 15 to 20 percent.”
  • While we estimate that white students would earn $1,348 a year less (a 1.6 percent reduction) over a 40-year working life, the figure is $2,186 a year (a 3.3 percent reduction) for black students and $1,809 (3.0 percent) for Hispanic ones.

Community Schools have been highly effective amid pandemic learning

  • Community schools have proven effective at maintaining communication and connection with students and families during the pandemic, as well as evaluating areas of need and maintaining the disbursement of resources and support.

Highlighting New York state:

In March and April, New York City was hit by COVID-19 in a way our country had not yet witnessed. A recent report from the United Hospital Fund shows us exactly how children in New York State have suffered due to COVID-19 and the accompanying economic crisis.  The data show deep disparities in outcomes based on race and ethnicity. The report states, “People of color are at greater risk of exposure. They are more likely to live in multigenerational housing, use public transit, and work in high-contact occupations. Racial and ethnic disparities are pronounced, with people of color more likely to die due to COVID-19 compared to white people when looking at age-adjusted COVID-19 deaths. Long-standing health and social inequities contributed to the increased COVID-19 infection risk faced by communities of color.”

Key data from the report:

  • 4,200 of New York State’s approximately 4 million children experienced a parental or caregiver death due to COVID-19.
  • Parental and caregiver deaths from COVID-19 occurred at a rate of 1 per 1,000 children.
  • 57% of these deaths were in three New York City counties: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), and Queens.
  • Black and Hispanic children experienced parental/caregiver deaths from COVID-19 at twice the rate of Asian and white Children.
  • Black and Hispanic children were disproportionately burdened, with 1 per 600 Black children and 1 per 700 Hispanic children affected, compared to 1 per 1,400 Asian children and 1 per 1,500 white children.
  • The consequences of losing a parent or caregiver to COVID-19 can be severe and long-lasting. There are serious, long-term mental health implications, potentially leading to depression, anxiety, and other mental health illnesses
  • • Up to 23% of children who lost a parent or caregiver due to COVID-19 may be at risk of entry into foster or kinship care. Some children who are already in kinship care, due to the opioid epidemic, for example, may be disproportionately affected.
  •  Approximately 50% of children who lost a caregiver due to COVID-19 may enter poverty.
  • More than 1 million children in New York State have had at least one parent lose a job since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Of these, an estimated 325,000 children are now living in or near poverty (defined as living below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, a little over $50,000 a year for a family of four with two children).
  • An additional 77,000 children ages 16 – 19 are unemployed compared to 2019.
  • 200-250k additional children risk being evicted from their homes. Of these, at least 100k will incur sustained difficulties in paying rent beyond 2020.
  • At least 130k children are newly food-insecure.
  • 60-110k children might lose Employer-Sponsored Insurance by end of 2020 Up to 5k of them might end up uninsured.
  • In terms of online education: 140k households with children do not have reliable access to a device.
  • 130k households with children do not have reliable access to an internet connection.
  • ~80% of people in/near poverty cannot work from home.
  • Up to 100k children might be without stable child care if primary schools do not fully reopen.