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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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The role of child protection managers during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. Challenges, priorities, new knowledge and skills

AUTHOR(S)
Camilla Landi; Paola Limongelli

Published: December 2022   Journal: European Journal of Social Work
This paper focuses on the role of the managers of child protection services in a region of Northern Italy during the Covid-19 pandemic. In most child protection services, there is a manager who is responsible for supporting social workers and collaborating with directors and policymakers. The COVID-19 pandemic has strongly impacted welfare organisations, professionals, service users, and families. Given the exceptional situation, an online survey was conducted on child protection services and the functions performed by managers during the first phase of the pandemic (March-May 2020). This paper presents the findings of a research survey involving 85 child protection managers.
Child maltreatment during the pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
J. Bart Klika; Melissa T. Merrick; Jennifer Jones

Published: November 2022   Journal: Child Maltreatment
What happened with child abuse and neglect during the pandemic? Emergency department and child welfare data suggest a decline in reports; however other sources of data suggest that risk for abuse and neglect remained high during COVID-19. In this commentary, the authors highlight the complicated, and at times contradictory, evidence as to what occurred with child abuse and neglect during the pandemic. The commentary concludes with suggestions for future research.
A pan-European review of good practices in early intervention safeguarding practice with children, young people and families: evidence gathering to inform a multi-disciplinary training programme (the ERICA project) in preventing child abuse and negle

AUTHOR(S)
J. V. Appleton; S. Bekaert; J. Hucker (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: International Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy and Practice
Child maltreatment has detrimental social and health effects for individuals, families and communities. The ERICA project is a pan-European training programme that equips non-specialist threshold practitioners with knowledge and skills to prevent and detect child maltreatment. This paper describes and presents the findings of a rapid review of good practice examples across seven participating countries including local services, programmes and risk assessment tools used in the detection and prevention of child maltreatment in the family. Learning was applied to the development of the generic training project. A template for mapping the good practice examples was collaboratively developed by the seven participating partner countries. A descriptive data analysis was undertaken organised by an a priori analysis framework. Examples were organised into three areas: programmes tackling child abuse and neglect, local practices in assessment and referral, risk assessment tools.
National COVID-19 lockdown and trends in help-seeking for violence against children in Zimbabwe: an interrupted time-series analysis

AUTHOR(S)
Ilan Cerna-Turoff; Robert Nyakuwa; Ellen Turner (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health volume

An estimated 1.8 billion children live in countries where COVID-19 disrupted violence prevention and response. It is important to understand how government policies to contain COVID-19 impacted children’s ability to seek help, especially in contexts where there was limited formal help-seeking prior to the pandemic. This study aimed to quantify how the national lockdown in Zimbabwe affected helpline calls for violence against children, estimated the number of calls that would have been received had the lockdown not occurred and described characteristics of types of calls and callers before and after the national lockdown. It used an interrupted time series design to analyse the proportion of violence related calls (17,913 calls out of 57,050) to Childline Zimbabwe’s national child helpline between 2017 to 2021. It applied autoregressive integrated moving average regression (ARIMA) models to test possible changes in call trends before and after the March 2020 lockdown and forecasted how many calls would have been received in the absence of lockdown. In addition, it examined call characteristics before and after lockdown descriptively.

Islam and human dignity: the plights of Almajiri street children during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria

AUTHOR(S)
Uche Uwaezuoke Okonkwo

Published: November 2022   Journal: Cogent Arts & Humanities
This study examines the plight of Almajiri children during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria within the context of religion, child rights, and human rights. Under the cover of being placed under an Islamic scholar for purposes of learning the Koran, the future of the Almajirai children has been mortgaged by the absence of proper care and denial of their rights. As a check to community spreading of the deadly coronavirus, the Almajiri children, notorious for street begging and largely found in Northern Nigeria were billed to be evacuated to their respective home states. Rather than moving these children to their home states in northern Nigeria, the majority of them were taken to the southern part of the country thus leading to intergroup disharmony and suspicion. Worried by the above, the study thus interrogates the nexus between the forceful removal and infringement of the rights of children, the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, questionable parenting, and failed governance. The rancor generated from evacuating these children to other parts of Nigeria raises the question of what has gone wrong with parenting and leadership. Sources for writing this paper have been derived from newspapers, journals, and online sources using the descriptive method of analysis.
Everyday life of children in out-of-home care during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Pia K. Eriksson; Siiri Utriainen

Published: November 2022   Journal: European Journal of Social Work
This article scrutinises the impacts of COVID-19 on the everyday life of children in out-of-home care in Finland during the first year of the pandemic. A content analysis was conducted on survey data of municipal social workers’ evaluations on the effect of the pandemic on 773 children in foster and residential care.
Fighting for a future: girls' opportunities
Institution: World Vision
Published: October 2022

What kind of opportunities can a child expect in life? Every child deserves to be loved, cared for, free from the threat of violence, and have the ability to fulfil their potential through exercising their agency, pursuing their education, and making choices in how to earn and spend money. However, due to entrenched gender norms and societal practices, girls are particularly at risk of living in an environment where many of their God-given rights are taken away from them. Child marriage is perhaps the most blatant sign of this. Every year, approximately 12 million girls are married before they reach the age of 18, robbing them of the opportunity to reach their full potential. Child marriage can result in early pregnancy (with associated serious health risks) and social isolation, interrupt schooling, limit opportunities for career and vocational advancement, and place girls at increased risk of domestic violence.

Secrets from the children's room: new understandings of inappropriate and abusive sexual behavior among siblings after the COVID-19 crisis in Israel

AUTHOR(S)
Limor Golan

Published: September 2022   Journal: Trauma, Violence, & Abuse
This article discusses the COVID-19 crisis’s impact on inappropriate and abusive sexual behavior among siblings (IASBAS) and how perceptions of this phenomenon affect construction of the post-crisis reality in Israel. Sibling sexual abuse, the most frequent type of sexual assault against children, does not occur in a vacuum; it is affected by the environment in which children live and develop. The pandemic created situational risk factors and a “germination substrate” for risk of abuse in “normative” families and escalation in families in which it had previously occurred. The first part of the article, based on research data and reports, reviews the objective reality that emerged in Israel and worldwide due to the pandemic. Part two describes situational risk factors converging to a new dangerous situation for children’s abuse and victimization that resulted from this crisis: domestic violence (direct, indirect, and sexual), at-risk children returning and staying at home, increased exposure to online sexual content, parental dysfunction, and lack of formal and informal support sources.
Child protection and welfare during the COVID 19 pandemic: revisiting the value of resilience-building, systems theory, adverse childhood experiences and trauma-informed approaches

AUTHOR(S)
Susan Flynn

Published: September 2022   Journal: Child Care in Practice
The purpose of this paper is to present a reading of child protection and welfare practice in the recent covid 19 pandemic, with reference to several popular concepts in social work. The focus is on the relevance of these concepts to the contemporary circumstances in which child protection and welfare social workers often now find themselves. The specific intention is to extract learning from four traditionally popular approaches in social work, namely, resilience-building, systems theory, ACES and trauma-informed approaches. This will be achieved by first introducing, and then explaining key ideas and conventions of each approach. Here, relevant and established literature will be referenced to inform explanations. As the utility of the systemic perspective for child protection work is already well established, the paper considers how this perspective can be extended to assist in work with children and young people in the pandemic who have Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). In this paper, exploration of the detail of that extension lies in resilience building and trauma-informed practice. Whilst concepts of trauma-sensitivity and resilience are variously embedded in ACEs literature, their mutual treatment tends to be deficient in one regard. Specifically, these concepts are often not thought about in a systemic manner, necessitating the inclusion of a systemic lens.
Afghanistan: a children's crisis
Institution: World Vision
Published: August 2022

Afghanistan is a country defined by the resilience and tenacity of its citizens – of its communities, its families, its children. Despite years of conflict, political changes, economic instability, and natural disasters, hard won development gains were realised, beginning to open doors for new opportunities and brighter futures for Afghanistan’s girls and boys. Today, those gains are at risk and the situation for children is more precarious than ever, in the face of what some class as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Political change, and the impact of this on the policies, decisions, and investments of the international aid community, coupled with the compounded effects of displacement, climate shocks, and lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, are pushing food insecurity to levels not seen before. This is challenging the ability of families to survive daily life, contributing to the rapid deterioration of the public health system, and ultimately, placing the rights and protection of Afghanistan’s children at risk. This report highlights how children and their families have been impacted by recent changes to the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. It provides an analysis of new primary research from four provinces, secondary data, and the testimonies of children and their families, who describe, in their own words, how the worsening situation in Afghanistan is impacting them.

Children's "best Interest" locked up: on the situation of children's rights during the COVID-19 responses

AUTHOR(S)
Michael Spieker

Published: August 2022   Journal: Jahr : European Journal of Bioethics
The constitution of the WHO as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child both emphasise the unique position of children, the significance of healthy development and the obligation of public and private actors to always consider the best interest of the child. There is – at least in the case of Germany – no evidence that this obligation has been fulfilled in due manner during the COVID-19 reactions. On the other hand, there is clear evidence from different parts of the world that the closure of schools and all places of social encounter has deeply harmed the social, emotional and even intellectual development of many children. The children’s rights therefore have not been safeguarded during the corona-reaction-crisis. The article argues that this disregard of the position of children has its roots in public health’s utilitarian perspective on the health of peoples instead of individuals. In order to safeguard the rights of children in public health operations, the procedures already foreseen by the UN Convention and its implementing regulations to take into account the best interest of the child must be truly implemented in the future.
Ending violence against children during Covid-19 and beyond: second regional conference to strengthen implementation of the INSPIRE strategies
Institution: World Health Organisation, *UNICEF
Published: August 2022

UNICEF and WHO jointly organized Ending Violence Against Children During COVID-19 and Beyond: Second Regional Conference to Strengthen Implementation of the INSPIRE Strategies, held virtually on 1–5 November 2021. The Conference comes under the umbrella of the 2021 Solutions Summit series of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children (GPEVAC).  Over 1700 delegates gathered for the Conference virtually, representing governments (including from the health, social welfare, education and justice sectors), youth groups, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United Nations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), international NGOs, faith-based organizations and religious leaders, academic institutions, private sector and development partners, as well as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children. The purpose of the Conference was to identify actions needed to ensure effective prevention and response to VAC during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, utilizing the strategies outlined in INSPIRE: Seven strategies for ending violence against children.

Prevalence, increase and predictors of family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, using modern machine learning approaches

AUTHOR(S)
Kristina Todorovic; Erin O’Leary; Kaitlin P. Ward (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychiatry

We are facing an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is causing detrimental effects on mental health, including disturbing consequences on child maltreatment and intimate partner violence. This study sought to identify predictors of child maltreatment and intimate partner violence from 380 participants (mean age 36.67 ± 10.61, 63.2% male; Time 3: June 2020) using modern machine learning analysis (random forest and SHAP values). It predicted that COVID-related factors (such as days in lockdown), parents’ psychological distress during the pandemic (anxiety, depression), their personality traits, and their intimate partner relationship will be key contributors to child maltreatment. It also examined if there is an increase in family violence during the pandemic by using an additional cohort at two time points (Time 1: March 2020, N = 434; mean age 35.67 ± 9.85, 41.69% male; and Time 2: April 2020, N = 515; mean age 35.3 ± 9.5, 34.33%).

Children's lives in an era of school closures: exploring the implications of COVID-19 for child labour in Ghana

AUTHOR(S)
Abdul-Rahim Mohammed

Published: July 2022   Journal: Children & Society
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Subsequently, governments worldwide implemented strict regimes of lockdowns and school closures to contain the transmission of the virus. Ghana's government on 15 March 2020 also announced a lockdown and closure of schools, lasting up till January 2021. Against this backdrop, the paper examined the implications of school closures on child labour in Ghana. Qualitative data for the study were collected between October 2020 to February 2021 in a small rural community in northern Ghana.
Exploring the nexus of Covid-19, precarious migration and child labour on the Cambodian-Thai border

AUTHOR(S)
Il Oeur; Sochanny Hak; Soeun Cham (et al.)

Institution: Institute of Development Studies
Published: June 2022

This report shares findings from qualitative research on the impacts of Covid-19 on Cambodian migrant workers in four sites along the Cambodia-Thai border. Government restrictions in Thailand and the border closure in February 2020 led to job losses and reduced working hours, and ultimately to an increase in the rate of return migration. Return migrants were forced to use informal points of entry with the facilitation of informal brokers, facing increased costs and risks and, in the process, becoming undocumented. This report shows an unequal access to health services between documented and undocumented migrants. Even in the context of Covid-19, some migrants continue to travel with young children who support the family, mostly through light agricultural work.

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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.