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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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1 - 15 of 56
Undertaking rapid assessments in the COVID-19 context: learning from UNICEF South Asia

AUTHOR(S)
Deepika Ganju; Tom Pellens

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: September 2021
In order to quickly and repeatedly assess the COVID-19 situation and its impacts, UNICEF Country Offices across South Asia conducted a variety of rapid assessments or/and similar real-time evidence generating exercises from the start of the pandemic in 2020. This resulted in innovation and learning to adapt evidence generation to the context, needs and data collection constraints imposed by the pandemic. Drawing on the documented experiences of nine rapid assessments, covering six countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), insights with regard to the design and implementation of rapid assessments in a pandemic context have been documented to facilitate cross-country learning. The focus was on: data collection and analysis methodology, sampling strategy, partnership and stakeholder involvement, agility and timeliness, and the dissemination and use of the findings. Nine case study briefs were produced as well as a cross-case synthesis report.
“I Must Work to Eat”: Covid-19, poverty, and child labor in Ghana, Nepal, and Uganda
Institution: Human Rights Watch
Published: September 2021

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, countries around the globe had made remarkable progress in reducing child labor. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the number of children in child labor decreased by approximately 94 million between 2000 and 2016, representing a drop of 38 percent. But as the pandemic caused massive school closures and unprecedented loss of jobs and income for millions of families, many children have entered the workforce to help their families survive, while others have been forced to work longer hours or enter more precarious and exploitative situations. Some have become their families’ primary breadwinners after losing a caregiver to Covid-19. Some despair of ever going back to school. This report examines the rise in child labor and poverty during the Covid-19 pandemic in three countries: Ghana, Nepal, and Uganda, the impact on children’s rights, and government responses. Each of the three countries has made significant progress reducing poverty and child labor in recent decades. Each has also made an explicit commitment as a “pathfinder” country to accelerate efforts to eradicate child labor in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Parents’ self-reported psychological impacts of COVID-19: associations with parental burnout, child behavior, and income

AUTHOR(S)
Margaret L Kerr; Kerrie A. Fanning; Tuyen Huynh (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Pediatric Psychology

The current study investigates associations between parents’ perceived coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) psychological impacts and experiences of parental burnout, children’s behaviors, and income. Data were collected during an online survey of parents’ (N = 1000) pandemic experiences in April 2020. Parents (M = 36.5 years old, SD = 6.0; 82.1% White) with at least one child 12 years or younger reported on measures of mental health, perceived COVID-19 impacts, parental burnout, and perceived increases in children’s stress and positive behaviors.

Are working children in developing countries hidden victims of pandemics?

AUTHOR(S)
Polyxeni Kechagia; Theodore Metaxas (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Social Sciences
The consequences of the recent pandemic have been disproportionately disruptive to several social groups, including children. As developing economies have been firefighting the recent pandemic, the welfare of minors could be affected and children’s economic exploitation and abuse could increase. Therefore, the present research aims to shed light on and to investigate the association between child labour in developing countries and pandemics, including the coronavirus, through conducting a systematic literature review on previous empirical studies. The present research concludes that previous studies on non-COVID-19 pandemics have mainly focused on the African economies, while studies on the recent pandemic have focused on Asian countries. In addition, differences were observed in relation to the methodological approaches and the characteristics of minor employees and the protection services in certain countries have proven to be insufficient.
Understanding patterns of food insecurity and family well-being amid the COVID-19 pandemic using daily surveys

AUTHOR(S)
Samantha Steimle; Anna Gassman-Pines; Anna D. Johnson (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Child Development
This paper investigates economic and psychological hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic among a diverse sample (61% Latinx; 16% White; 9% Black; 14% mixed/other race) of socioeconomically disadvantaged parents (90% mothers; mean age = 35 years) and their elementary school-aged children (ages 4–11; 49% female) in rural Pennsylvania (N = 272). Families participating in a local food assistance program reported on food insecurity (FI) and parent and child mood and behavior daily from January to May 2020. Longitudinal models revealed that FI, negative parent and child mood, and child misbehavior significantly increased when schools closed; only FI and parent depression later decreased. FI decreased most among those who received the local food assistance program; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program receipt uniquely predicted decreases in child FI.
Depressed and socioeconomically disadvantaged mothers’ progression into a randomized controlled mobile mental health and parenting intervention: a descriptive examination prior to and during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Kathleen M. Baggett; Betsy Davis; Elizabeth A. Mosley (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
Infants of low-income and depressed mothers are at high risk for poor developmental outcomes. Early parenting mediates infant experiences from birth, and early intervention can support sensitive and responsive parent practices that optimize infant outcomes via promoting developmental competencies. However, low-income and depressed mothers experience substantial challenges to participating in early intervention. They also have extremely limited access to interventions targeting depression. Interventions targeting maternal depression and parent practices can improve maternal and infant outcomes. Mobile internet-based interventions overcome numerous barriers that low-resource mothers face in accessing home-based interventions. Pandemic-related stressors likely reduce family resources and exacerbate distress of already heavily-burdened mother-infant dyads. During crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, evidence-based remote coaching interventions are paramount. This article reports on a mobile intervention for improving maternal mood and increasing parent practices that promote infant development. An ongoing randomized controlled trial study provided a unique opportunity to monitor progression from referral to intervention initiation between two groups of depressed mothers: those prior to the pandemic and during the pandemic. The study also examines mother and infant characteristics at baseline. The sample consisted primarily of Black mothers experiencing extreme poverty who self-referred to the study in a large southern city, which is one of the most income disparate in the United States.
How to assess the child poverty and distributional impact of COVID-19 using household budget surveys: an application using Turkish data

AUTHOR(S)
Meltem A. Aran; Nazli Aktakke; Zehra Sena Kibar (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: The European Journal of Development Research
This study presents a methodology to predict the child poverty impact of COVID19 that can be readily applied in other country contexts where similar household data are available—and illustrates this case using data from Turkey. Using Household Budget Survey 2018, the microsimulation model estimates the impact of labour income loss on household expenditures, considering that some types of jobs/sectors may be more vulnerable than others to the COVID-19 shock. Labour income loss is estimated to lead to reductions in monthly household expenditure using an income elasticity model, and expenditure-based child poverty is found to increase in Turkey by 4.9–9.3 percentage points (depending on shock severity) from a base level of 15.4%. Among the hypothetical cash transfer scenarios considered, the universal child grant for 0–17 years old children was found to have the highest child poverty reduction impact overall, while schemes targeting the bottom 20–30% of households are more cost-efective in terms of poverty reduction. The microsimulation model set out in this paper can be readily replicated in countries where similar Household Budget Surveys are available.
National safe back to school spotlight Cambodia

AUTHOR(S)
Jess Edwards; Sotheary El; Gloria Donate (et al.)

Institution: Save the Children
Published: August 2021

Globally, over 1.5 billion children have had their schools closed due to COVID-19 since early 2020.1 For the first time in history, an entire generation of children have had their education disrupted. In Cambodia, more than 3 million children have been out of school for over most of the past year, with two major waves of schools closures since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.2 The loss, on average, of nearly 10% of children’s expected total lifetime schooling will not only have caused significant learning losses, but has put many children at risk of dropping out of school entirely.

Society to cell: how child poverty gets “under the skin” to influence child development and lifelong health

AUTHOR(S)
Kim L. Schmidt; Sarah M. Merrill; Randip Gill (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Developmental Review
Almost one in three children globally live in households lacking basic necessities, and 356 million of these children were living in extreme poverty as of 2017. Disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic further increase rates of child poverty due to widespread job and income loss and economic insecurity among families. Poverty leads to unequal distribution of power and resources, which impacts the economic, material, environmental and psychosocial conditions in which children live. There is evidence that poverty is associated with adverse child health and developmental outcomes in the short term, as well as increased risk of chronic diseases and mental illnesses over the life course. Over the past decade, advances in genomic and epigenomic research have helped elucidate molecular mechanisms that could in part be responsible for these long-term effects. This study reviews evidence suggestive of biological embedding of early life poverty in three, interacting physiological systems that are potential contributors to the increased risk of disease: the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, the brain, and the immune system. It also reviews interventions that have been developed to both eliminate childhood poverty and alleviate its impact on pediatric development and health.
The challenges of inequality and COVID-19 for young people in Peru: evidence from the listening to young lives at work COVID-19 phone survey

AUTHOR(S)
Kath Ford; Santiago Cueto; Alan Sanchez

Published: August 2021

This policy brief looks at the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of adolescents and young people in Peru as they transition into adulthood, focusing on how widening inequalities are hitting those from disadvantaged backgrounds hardest. Peru continues to suffer one of the highest per capita COVID-19 death rates in the world, despite an initial strict national lockdown between March and June 2020, and subsequent regional lockdowns between July and September 2020. A second set of regional lockdowns, and new related restrictions, have been introduced since January 2021, in response to an even more devastating second wave of infections. This brief investigates the broader economic and social impacts of the pandemic, presenting policy recommendations based on findings from the Listening to Young Lives at Work COVID-19 phone survey, conducted in the second half of 2020. It focuses on five key areas of impact: interrupted education and inequality in learning outcomes; unequal access to decent jobs; worsening mental health and well-being; specific implications for girls and young women, including increased domestic work burdens; and increasing risk of domestic violence. It is part of a series of national policy briefs drawing on findings from our 2020 COVID-19 phone survey.

COVID-19 behavioural drivers and patterns: a longitudinal assessment from the South Asia region

AUTHOR(S)
JohnBaptist Bwanika; Tom Pellens; Esther Kaggwa

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: July 2021
In response to the need for social and behavioural data to inform risk communication and community engagement during COVID-19, the community rapid assessment (CRA) initiative was implemented by UNICEF in four countries in South Asia (Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan). Through a time-series approach, the CRAs aim to provide rapid and consistent data on citizen perceptions and behaviours; underlying drivers and barriers; access to information and trust; vaccine acceptance; coping strategies; and evolving needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data across countries were synthesized and analysed to measure associations between outcomes of interest (e.g. behavioural practices) and a set of respondent characteristics. Initial analysis used data from Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan covering the period August to December 2020 (presented in an interim report with early findings). This was next expanded to also cover the India CRA and data up to April 2021.
COVID-19 and mental health of young adult children in China: economic impact, family dynamics, and resilience

AUTHOR(S)
Ming Cui; Peipei Hong

Published: July 2021   Journal: Family Relations

The current study aimed to examine the economic impact of COVID-19 virus on family dynamics and college-age children's mental health in China and to identity personal and social or relational resilience factors that could buffer the negative consequences of COVID-19. Since an outbreak of COVID-19 was first reported in China in December 2019, it has profoundly changed the lives of families and children of all ages. In particular, it has created challenges among families with college-age young adult children. Using a sample of 484 college students from 21 universities in China, an online survey design was utilized to obtain information from these students on their family demographics and economic situation, parent–child interactions, and individual well-being during COVID-19.

Impact of COVID-19 on the lives of vulnerable young people in New Delhi, India: a mixed method study

AUTHOR(S)
Sharanya Napier-Raman; Ananya Rattani; Yawar Qaiyum (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: BMJ Paediatrics Open

India is home to the largest child population in the world. India also has faced a devastating burden of COVID-19 infections. During the first wave of COVID-19, the Indian government’s lockdown measures brought loss of livelihoods for millions. This study aimed to explore the social, psychological and health impacts of the government’s pandemic measures on children and young people (CYP), and their families. Bal Umang Drishya Sanstha (BUDS) is a non-profit organisation providing child health and welfare services to marginalised urban slum communities in New Delhi, India. As part of formative evaluation of BUDS’s COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts, the team conducted a rapid survey of 60 children (10–17 years) and 62 young adults (18–25 years) who were beneficiaries of the relief programme. The team also undertook semi-structured interviews with nine young women attending BUDS’s second-chance education programme.

Monitoring the impacts of COVID-19 on affordable diets: real-time cost of the diet and household economic analysis pilot Zinder, Niger results brief
Institution: Save the Children
Published: July 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted food supply chains and economic systems worldwide. With countries facing disrupted livelihoods, restricted movements, disrupted markets, border closures and rising food prices, this study aimed to understand how these disruptions may have impacted cost and affordability of the diet. The pilot aimed to leverage existing price data to adapt the HEA and CotD methodologies for real-time monitoring of the cost and affordability of a nutritious diet changes over time in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This brief presents key learnings for policy makers and technical learnings for practitioners.
The race against COVID-19: outpacing the pandemic for children in Senegal
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: July 2021

Since the first identified case on 2 March 2020 until 13 July 2021, more than 1,200 people have lost their lives, meaning that too many boys and girls suffered the tragic and permanent loss of a grandparent, parent, caregiver or loved one. More than 46,860 persons tested positive, implying that and even greater number of loved ones might have fallen ill, making it hard for them to care for family, keep plans or sustain employment. Meanwhile, almost every household in Senegal was affected by restrictions designed to contain the first wave. While the strict measures were largely successful in limiting the spread of the virus, they also affected key sectors of the economy, disrupted supply chains and markets, and affected both the demand for, and availability of, social services. Essentially, COVID-19 impacted almost every aspect of life, particularly in the first quarter of 2020, which we now recognize as the first “leg” in a multi-year, planet-wide marathon to outpace the pandemic. With the closure of schools and disruption of many basic services, child protection mechanisms also lapsed, triggering a crisis for children with considerable socio-economic costs.

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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.