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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Unintended trauma: the role of public health policy in the detention of migrant children

AUTHOR(S)
Michele Statz; Lauren Heidbrink

Published: July 2021   Journal: The Lancet Regional Health - Americas
Within the first three months of 2021, an unprecedented 33,000 unaccompanied children arrived at the United States-Mexico border. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responded by opening new facilities for detained migrant children in converted convention centers, stadiums, and military bases. Ranging from 1000 to 5000 beds, these facilities are not unique to the U.S.: Europe and Australia have adopted similar models of detaining arriving migrants and refugees.1 Responding to these trends, global public health scholars have identified how large post-reception models negatively impact migrants’ mental and physical health and further contribute to increased vulnerability to COVID-19.2 Considerably less attention has been paid to how pandemic-related public health policies have actually fueled the recent demand for mass detention facilities.
The impact of COVID-19 on children's access to justice
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: January 2021

When children encounter the justice system – as alleged offenders, victims, witnesses or as parties to civil or administrative matters – they are entitled to specialized processes and procedures that are consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international standards. Yet many justice systems are neither child-friendly nor gender-sensitive and often fail to meet the needs or uphold the rights of all children. Evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic – along with previous infectious disease outbreaks – suggests that existing child protection violations are exacerbated, and new risks emerge, in times of crisis. In addition to the adverse impacts of detention and incarceration on their well-being, children risk contracting the virus when detained in confined and overcrowded spaces. They are also more vulnerable to neglect and abuse, especially if staffing levels or care are undermined by the pandemic or containment measures.

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.


Restructuring institutional care: challenges and coping measures for children and caregivers in post-COVID-19 era

AUTHOR(S)
Sudeshna Roy

Published: December 2020   Journal: Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has rattled the world and has severely compromised not only the public health system but has decelerated the global economy. In this backdrop, the article explores the dynamics of the institutional care of the out-of-home care (OHC) children, adolescents and children who are residing in alternative care homes, childcare institutes (CCIs), foster homes and who are in conflict with law like refugees or in juvenile correctional centres. The article attempts to highlight the risk factors and systematic barriers that CCIs and associated functionaries have been confronting in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. It would also catalogue the remedial, preventive and protective initiatives undertaken as best practices. 


Childhood detention during COVID-19 in Italy: building momentum for a comprehensive child protection agenda

AUTHOR(S)
Silvia Logar; Maggie Leese

Published: August 2020   Journal: International Health
Childhood detention represents an integral part of the public health response to the COVID-19 emergency. Prison conditions in Italy put detained minors at grave risk of contracting sudden acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. To date (29 April 2020), the Italian penitentiary system is housing 161 minors (147 males), most of them in pre-trial custody, as well as 50 children <3 y of age residing with their mothers in detention. Furthermore, the government reported 5265 unaccompanied minor migrants, mainly from Gambia and Egypt. The fundamental approach to be followed in childhood detention during COVID-19 is prevention of the introduction of infectious agents into detention facilities, limiting the spread within the prison and reducing the possibility of spread from the prison to the outside community. This appears challenging in countries like Italy with intense SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
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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.