Voices’ Blog

New report highlights what families are experiencing during the pandemic

Posted:  -  By: Lauren Snellings

Kids, Families and COVID-19: Pandemic Pain Points and the Urgent Need to Respond was released on December 12, 2020 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in partnership with Voices for Virginia’s Children. This report shows in detail how children and families are suffering from the unprecedented disruption and economic storm set off by the pandemic. This report measures how families are doing in the areas of food security, housing stability, health insurance status and mental health concerns, and shows how Virgnia’s Black families have experienced greater hardship due to the global health crisis.

Kids, Families and COVID-19 examined data from weekly surveys conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that demonstrate how families across the country are challenged to meet basic needs during this global public health crisis while managing school, work and mental health. The Foundation finds that the concurrent health and economic crises are exacerbating trends that show vulnerable families are unable to fulfill basic needs.

According to the report, the percentages of Virginia’s families with children who have experienced challenges across the following indicators are listed below:

  • FOOD SECURITY: 13 percent said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat; an increase of three percent since the start of the pandemic. For Black families, the rate is nearly double at 25 percent.
  • HOUSING STABILITY: 16 percent had slight or no confidence they would make the next rent or mortgage payment on time compared to the national average of 18 percent. For Virginia’s Black families, the rate is 36 percent.
  • AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE: 11 percent did not have health insurance compared to the national average of 12 percent.
  • MENTAL HEALTH: 19 percent felt down, depressed or hopeless compared to the national average of 21 percent.

According to the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey, 60 percent of Black families and 58 percent of Latino families with children in the household lost employment income since the start of the pandemic. Employment losses have disproportionately impacted Black and Latino families compared to 46 percent of all Virginia families.

The report shows how urgent state and federal intervention is crucial to the health and well-being of families with children. Robust federal interventions, such as Unemployment Insurance and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, in times of crisis are not only essential but have been deeply effective. Voices for Virginia’s Children joins the Annie E. Casey Foundation in urging policymakers to prioritize the COVID-19 response at the top of 2021 agendas to ensure that children have what they need to survive and thrive.

For more data related to the pandemic, check out the Virginia KIDS COUNT Data Center.

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