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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNDER DEVELOPMENT UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 pandemic and response in South Asia

Over recent decades, South Asia has made remarkable progress in improving the health of mothers and children. But the year 2020 brought a great shock to South Asia, as it did to the whole world. The COVID-19 pandemic has had major and multiple impacts – both direct and indirect. One of the critical indirect impacts has been severe disruptions to the delivery and use of routine services, including essential health and nutrition services. The region saw significant drops in the use of both preventive and curative services. Direct and Indirect Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic and Response in South Asia uses a series of exercises based on actual observed changes in services and intervention coverage to model impacts on mortality, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions due to COVID-19. It also models the impact of nationwide stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of COVID-19 on maternal and child mortality, educational attainment of children, and the region’s economy. The study focuses on South Asia’s six most populous countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and makes the case for interventions and strategies to minimise these indirect consequences.

Childhood in the time of COVID-19
Institution: Save the Children
Published: March 2021
A generation of children in America are experiencing multiple hardships brought on by the coronavirus. Many millions more children are now hungry, missing out on school, and worried about their family’s economic future. For children who were struggling before COVID-19, things have gotten worse.
Battling the perfect storm: adapting programmes to end child marriage to COVID-19 and beyond
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: March 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic is quickly exacerbating key factors that put children at risk of marrying before their 18th birthday. This learning brief synthesizes evidence to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting child marriage risk factors and how UNICEF, within the UNFPA–UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage, is pivoting to identify and respond to risk factors and adapt programming to COVID-19 limitations. With a focus on UNICEF’s response in five Global Programme countries: Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, Uganda and Yemen, the brief summarizes key lessons learned to inform current and future programme planning with evidence from the first and second waves of the pandemic.
Our Europe, our rights, our future: children and young people's contribution to the new EU strategy on the rights of the child and the child guarantee
Institution: Save the Children, Eurochild, *UNICEF
Published: March 2021

The European Union (EU) is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of children. In the era of Covid-19 pandemic, it is undertaking two major pieces of work to contribute to making this commitment a reality: a strategy on the rights of the child 2021-2024 and a child guarantee to ensure every child in Europe at risk of poverty has access to essential services. To find out what children are experiencing and what they say needs to change, the EU approached five child rights organizations – Child Fund Alliance, Eurochild, Save the Children, UNICEF and World Vision – to consult with children on their lives, aspirations and concerns for the future. This report presents the findings of that consultation with over 10,000 children aged 11–17 across Europe and beyond.

Breaking the child labour cycle through education: issues and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children of in-country seasonal migrant workers in the brick kilns of Nepal

AUTHOR(S)
Angela Daly; Alyson Hillis; Shubhendra Man Shrestha (et al.)

Published: February 2021   Journal: Children's Geographies
This viewpoint offers a commentary on the status of Nepalese children of migrant workers in the brick kilns of the construction industry and the potential impacts of COVID-19 on their lives. The paper identifies a temporal cycle of movement in the life of a child from a migrant working family with the variances that need to be taken into consideration by stakeholders to tackle child labour, and to reduce risks to children of migrant workers posed by the current pandemic. It draws on the education and emergencies literature to examine ‘lessons learned’ and considers key questions to ask in the time of COVID-19, especially in the education sector, to mitigate further entrenchment of exclusion of this group of children in Nepal.
Childhood maltreatment is associated with distrust and negatively biased emotion processing

AUTHOR(S)
Johanna Hepp; Sara E. Schmitz; Jana Urbild

Published: February 2021   Journal: Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation
Cognitive models of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) propose that trauma entails cognitive alterations of increased distrust and perceived threat from others. We tested whether these predictions also hold in individuals with varying levels of childhood maltreatment (CM), which is much more prevalent than traumatic events as required for a PTSD diagnosis. This study hypothesized that higher levels of CM would entail greater distrust and perceived threat, and that distrust would be more change-resistant in participants with more CM.
Progress toward ending child marriage over the last decade: a missed opportunity to deliver for girls
Institution: Save the Children
Published: February 2021

Compared to the previous generation, the incidence of child marriage worldwide has declined. However, strides forward have suffered from substantial limitations. At the global level, child marriage is still too widespread, and progress too slow, to meet the SDG target in 2030. At the regional level, some areas have achieved remarkable progress, while others are lagging behind. Worryingly, in the majority of cases, progress over the past decade (2010-2020) has not matched advancements achieved in the decade prior (2000-2010). At the country level, inclusive progress hasn’t always materialized: in a number of countries, gaps are widening not only between wealth groups, but also on the basis of residence. In a nutshell, progress has been unevenly distributed not only across time, but also across geographies, with stark divides both among and within countries. COVID-19 is expected to have a damaging impact on child protection, including according to Save the Children’s own projections. Urgent efforts are needed to guarantee girls’ rights and prevent devastating setbacks. In the longer term, more research is needed to understand what drives child marriage, so as to tackle it more effectively in different regions.

Are we asking the right questions?: choices and challenges in assessing COVID-19 impact on the vulnerable in Bangladesh

AUTHOR(S)
Debapriya Bhattacharya; Sarah Sabin Khan; Towfiqul Islam Khan

Institution: Citizen’s Platform for SDGs
Published: January 2021
The paper puts forward a framework to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable population groups in a developing country context. Bangladesh has been used as a case study. The pandemic has not only exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities of these groups but has also induced new ones. Policy actions towards recovery and resumption—both immediately and over the medium-term—need to be informed by genuine and disaggregated evidence based on realities on the ground. The paper urges a need to have conceptual, analytical and methodological clarity on the relevant issues. Towards this end, it explores the current state of knowledge on the topic and digs deep into the existing literature to analyse these issues. The paper offers a set of analytical questions to construct the assessment framework. The resultant framework presented can be adopted and replicated across national contexts.
Children’s right to be heard: we’re talking; are you listening?
Institution: Child Fund Alliance, Plan International, Save the Children
Published: January 2021
As countries usher in 2021, children throughout the world continue to grapple with unprecedented hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic that turned the world upside down in 2020. The global health crisis prompted lockdown efforts that raised the risk of violence, hunger, child labor, child marriage, and school dropouts—particularly among girls. It also curtailed opportunities for children to engage in activities aimed at promoting their right to be heard. Recent research shows children are eager to have their voices heard and to play a pivotal role in halting the spread of the virus and minimizing its negative impacts. During consultations for this policy brief, children reported it was very important that they maintain strong peer participation groups and connections to other adolescents and children during lockdowns. They also shared that participation during lockdowns helped promote positive mental health and lessen anxiety and loneliness.
Youth (in)justice and the COVID-19 pandemic: rethinking incarceration through a public health lens

AUTHOR(S)
Faith Gordon; Hannah Klose; Michelle Lyttle Storrod

Published: January 2021   Journal: Current Issues in Criminal Justice

Serious concerns for the safety and well-being of children and young people are multiplying due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has called for children’s urgent release from prison. Evidence demonstrates that incarceration can aggravate existing health conditions and result in new health issues, such as depression, suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder. This paper draws on findings from a larger study involving 25 qualitative interviews with policy makers, practitioners and researchers working in youth justice and utilises Victoria in South East Australia as a case study.


Collaboration of child protective services and early childhood educators: enhancing the well-being of children in need

AUTHOR(S)
Karmen Toros; Keidy Tart; Asgeir Falch‑Eriksen

Published: January 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
This paper examines the role of interprofessional collaboration in the identification and reporting of a child in need. Such collaboration is especially important in the context of the global pandemic caused by the novel Coronavirus disease of 2019, known as COVID-19. The child protection system must have the capacity and resources to respond to increased demands during this time, and early childhood educators serve as an essential link for child protective services in identifying and reporting a child in need. As an effective system to accomplish these two aims requires a working collaboration among its participants, Bronstein’s interdisciplinary collaboration model was used as a framework to interpret this practice. A small-scale qualitative study was conducted that included principals of nursery schools and child protection workers from one region in Estonia.
It’s time for care, prioritizing quality care for children - Challenges, opportunities and an agenda for action

AUTHOR(S)
Gillian Huebner

Institution: *UNICEF, Better Care Network
Published: December 2020
COVID-19 is having unprecedented impacts on children and families across the globe; however, these are not being evenly experienced. While the challenges of caregiving are increasing for most families, the effects are particularly acute for those already engaged in low-wage or in-kind work, often in the informal economy where there are few safeguards. Caregivers are stretched, and there is a lack of quality, affordable childcare, with limited access to social protection, services and support to address the multiple and cumulative risks associated with the pandemic, as well as persistent poverty, systemic inequality and discrimination.
The perfect storm: hidden risk of child maltreatment during the Covid-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Christina M. Rodriguez; Shawna J. Lee; Kaitlin P. Ward (et al.)

Published: December 2020   Journal: Child Maltreatment
The Covid-19 pandemic upended the country, with enormous economic and social shifts. Given the increased contact from families living in virtual confinement coupled with massive economic disarray, the Covid-19 pandemic may have created the ideal conditions to witness a rise in children’s experience of abuse and neglect. Yet such a rise will be difficult to calculate given the drop in official mechanisms to track its incidence. The current investigation utilized two studies conducted early in the pandemic to evaluate maltreatment risk.
Child marriage in COVID-19 contexts: disruptions, alternative approaches and building programme resilience
Institution: UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund, *UNICEF
Published: December 2020
This brief has been developed jointly by UNFPA and UNICEF regional offices in Eastern and Southern Africa. It provides an overview of child marriage in the region, particularly in the context of COVID-19, as well as an analysis of disruptions to child marriage programmes. The brief also describes alternatives to traditional programmatic work as a means to overcome challenges presented by COVID-19. It proposes a way forward for child marriage programming during the COVID-19 response and recovery phases, as well as outlining implications for future programming, including the need to strengthen programme resilience
Social protection for families with children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean: an imperative to address the impact of COVID-19

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have predicted that the social and economic effects of the ongoing pandemic will have a significant impact on the well-being of families with children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, children and adolescents were already a highly vulnerable population group, suffering a higher incidence of poverty than other age groups and affected by numerous inequalities in various dimensions. Not only does the current emergency threaten families with the loss of their livelihoods and a drop in their incomes, children and adolescents also face significant barriers in securing access to health care —including vaccination schemes— and to education. Thus, they are also at a higher risk of falling behind or dropping out of school, as well as at risk from food insecurity and threats of violence or physical punishment. It is therefore urgent to invest in children and to ensure their development in a context characterized by adversities old and new.

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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.

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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.