The economic and emotional toll on families from the pandemic will impact children for many years to come. It’s become increasingly clear that more and more families need support to stay above water because our current collection of safety net programs is not enough to protect families. Our 2021 legislative prioritizes the relief and overall long-term recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the new approach needed to meet the needs of all children.
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Many children entering the foster care system have experienced adversity and trauma, leaving them more vulnerable to the changes that come with school closings and lack of social interaction with family and friends. Policy efforts to change the path forward for Virginia’s families will require significant investments to prevent children from entering foster care, provide social supports to kinship caregivers, and help foster care youth have normal adolescent experiences.
Early Care & Education
There is no question that 2020 dramatically changed the early learning sector in Virginia. Currently, the majority of public preschool programs are offering virtual instruction for students. The impact of the pandemic will have long-term implications for children as well as the child care sector.
Family Economic Security
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened economic hardships, especially for children of color. When layered with environmental trauma from social injustices and stressors related to the pandemic, the experiences of hardship increases, creating a complex trauma.
While COVID-19 is one pandemic, it is layered with racism – another public health crisis that widens existing disparities caused by inequities that contribute to the social determinants of health. Without insurance, families are forced to decide to not get the care they need. When parents have access to health insurance, children are more likely to have access to health insurance.
The status of children’s mental health is facing a critical system change moment because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our awareness and understanding of how racial and historical trauma is also connected to mental health and wellness. As the pandemic continues to exacerbate hardships for families along lines of race and ethnicity, more must be done to address the mental health of Virginia’s children.
The Campaign for a Trauma-Informed Virginia: Racial Truth & Reconciliation Virginia
In the wake of the pandemic and today’s modern civil rights movement, we must recognize that populations who disproportionately suffer from trauma need a different approach that promotes equitable and just policies of change. Addressing the root cause of trauma in neighborhoods, families, and schools requires policies that consider the environment that perpetuates the harm.