Annie E. Casey Report Illuminates COVID-19 Damage to Children & Families
According to a recent Annie E. Casey report—Kids, Families and COVID-19—Pennsylvania children and families (and families nationwide) have not only suffered from financial challenges and food insecurity as a result of COVID-19, but many have also faced struggles concerning their mental health and well-being. Data in the report show that in Pennsylvania, 27 percent of adults with children in their households reported feelings of depression or hopelessness. With 2021 just beginning and the pandemic still in full effect, identifying the needs of families during this time will be paramount in ensuring their future health and well-being.
The KIDS Count report outlines the state of child well-being before and during the pandemic making some of the following points:
- In the fall of 2020, one in eight households with children lacked health insurance.
- One in five people in households with children (21%) have reported feeling down, depressed or hopeless in the previous week, underscoring the importance of access to mental health care and treatment.
- Absent action to prevent an eviction and foreclosure crisis, the data indicate a looming housing catastrophe for communities of color.
- Half of the adults in households with school-aged children surveyed by Washington University in St. Louis (49%) said there was no adult available in the household to help their children with schoolwork; 36% were unable to provide their kids with a quiet place to study; and 32% lacked adequate broadband internet and online learning tools.
Given these disheartening statistics, the report includes an urge and call from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to policymakers and child advocates to prioritize a COVID-19 response early in 2021 to ensure children and families are given better opportunities to live healthy, sustainable lives during and after the pandemic. Some of these recommendations include:
- Prioritizing the physical and mental health of all children by guaranteeing that any vaccine will be available without cost as a factor and by retaining and strengthening the Affordable Care Act; and
- Ensuring racial and ethnic equity is put first in policymaking by using disaggregated data and engaging community stakeholders.
To read these recommendations and get a deeper look into the Annie E. Casey report, visit the foundation’s website.