New Survey Shows Coronavirus Crisis Puts Wellbeing of Young Children and Parents at Risk
The first five years of a child’s life are critically important for their healthy development and long-term success. We partnered with the Education Trust West and other child advocacy organizations to gain a deeper understanding of how the coronavirus crisis is affecting California’s youngest and their families. What we learned from the 600 parents of children ages 0-5 who were polled was not surprising, yet still deeply disheartening.
Families across California are struggling with financial and food insecurity, access to health programs, and web-based supports—challenges that have exacerbated existing inequities for low-income families and families of color. More than half of California parents of children ages 0 to 5 feel uneasy about personal finances and more than a third are not confident about being able to pay for their family’s basic needs like food, housing and healthcare.
Other key findings include:
- Over 1 in 3 parents (36%) are skipping or reducing meals so that their kids don’t go hungry—a number which increases significantly among new parents with a child 1-6 months old, low-income parents, Latinx parents, and parents in Los Angeles, among others.
- Nearly 1 in 3 (30%) parents have missed health appointments for their child because of COVID-19
- Nearly three in four parents (72%) worry for their child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development as a result of the coronavirus crises, while another three in four (77%) report their own levels of stress are higher than usual
- Nearly all parents (94%) would like to access their child’s doctor using telehealth technology, but less than a quarter are currently able to do so (18%)
COVID-19 is threatening the physical, mental, and emotional health of California families, but how children emerge from this crisis will be affected by whether parents or caregivers have to worry about basic expenses like health care, food, and housing.
Even before COVID-19, our research showed that early childhood development for children in immigrant families was already being disrupted by the current anti-immigrant environment.
Our collective well-being depends on our work with policymakers to center the needs of children and families in order to address the continued inequities that are both highlighted and amplified by the pandemic.
With this global emergency comes an even greater moral imperative to fundamentally transform the way our society supports children and families, and develop a more equitable infrastructure that increases safety net supports, health and telehealth access, and mental health services so that California’s young children and families can achieve their right to thrive.
Read more about the survey results here.