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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 39
Emerging ideas. families together: supporting family resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Kristine Marceau; Carlyn Kimiecik; Yumary Ruiz (et al.)

Published: October 2022   Journal: Family Relations

This study evaluated a rapidly developed program designed to support family resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grounded in Walsh's family resilience framework, Families Tackling Tough Times Together (FT) disseminated weekly evidence-informed content through a public Facebook group, partner organizations, and on a dedicated website. Facebook and website analytics and weekly brief usage surveys (n with at least one = 74) documented program use, and pre- and post-FT surveys (n with at least one = 49) assessed family connectedness, positive outlook, purpose in life, and stress.

Guidance for states on measuring equitable allocation of COVID relief funds and progress toward child care stabilization

AUTHOR(S)
Patti Banghart; Carlise King; Sarah Daily

Published: September 2022   Journal: Child Trends
The COVID-19 pandemic caused major hardships for child care providers and families with young children, leading an already fragile early care and education (ECE) system to the brink of collapse. Approximately two thirds of child care providers were closed in April 2020, and one third remained closed as of April 2021i due to financial instability from temporary closures and/or lower enrollment.ii This meant that the underpaid child care workforce—which disproportionately includes Black and Hispanic women, and other1 women of color and immigrant womeniii—was one of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic. As of June 2022, child care employment nationwide remains down nearly 10 percent compared with February 2020.
Family strengthening in the context of COVID-19: adapting a community-based intervention from Kenya to the United States

AUTHOR(S)
Eve S. Puffer; Savannah L. Johnson; Kaitlin N. Quick (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Prevention Science
COVID-19 led to widespread disruption of services that promote family well-being. Families impacted most were those already experiencing disparities due to structural and systemic barriers. Existing support systems faded into the background as families became more isolated. New approaches were needed to deliver evidence-based, low-cost interventions to reach families within communities. This research adapted a family strengthening intervention developed in Kenya (“Tuko Pamoja”) for the United States.

A helping hand over a heavy hand: child support enforcement in the era of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Lisa Klein Vogel; Alejandra Ros Pilarz; Laura Cuesta (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance
The COVID-19 pandemic forced human services agencies to adapt quickly to the economic realities faced by their customers. For child support agencies, the pandemic raised difficult questions about how strenuously agencies should enforce child support orders during periods of economic crisis and uncertainty. Drawing on interviews with agency and court staff, this study explores staff’s perceptions of pandemic-related effects on parents’ abilities to work and pay, how and why enforcement practices changed during the pandemic, and changes staff expect to persist. Agency staff reported a pause on enforcement at the pandemic’s outset, followed by leniency, flexibility, caution, and empathy in their practices.
Minority and low-SES families' experiences during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis: a qualitative study

AUTHOR(S)
Judith L. Perrigo; Anya Samek; Michael Hurlburt

Published: August 2022   Journal: Children and Youth Services Review

This paper aimed to explore minority and low-SES families’ general experiences with the stay-at-home mandate initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Semi-structured qualitative interviews (n = 31) were conducted in May 2020 – six to nine weeks after the stay-at-home mandate was initiated in Chicago Heights, Illinois. Participants were randomly selected from the parent Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center (CHECC) study (N = 2,185). Thematic content analysis of transcribed semi-structured interviews were employed.

Caregiver perspective on the impact of COVID-19 on the psychosocial and behavioral health of children with ASD in the United States: a questionnaire-based survey

AUTHOR(S)
Dominique Schwartz; Prageet K. Sachdev; Laura Hewitson (et al.)

Published: July 2022   Journal: COVID
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were particularly vulnerable to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study we conducted an anonymous caregiver survey to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the psychosocial and behavioral health of children with ASD. Data from 700 responses identified several significant factors predicting greater difficulties for the child including pre-existing behavioral challenges (OR = 5.179; 95% CI: 2.696, 9.951), disrupted sleep (OR = 2.618; 95% CI 1.341, 5.112), and a diagnosis of depression (OR = 3.425; 95% CI: 1.1621, 4.116). Greater difficulties for caregivers in managing their child’s behaviors were associated with sleep disturbances (OR = 1.926; 95% CI: 1.170, 3.170), self-injurious behavior (OR = 3.587; 95% CI: 1.767, 7.281), and managing the child’s school activities (OR = 3.107; 95% CI: 1.732, 5.257) and free time (OR = 3.758; 95% CI: 2.217, 6.369). However, being under the care of a neuropsychiatrist was associated with less difficulty in managing the child’s behaviors (OR = 2.516; 95% CI: −1.046, −5.382). Finally, the presence of comorbidities (OR = 2.599; 95% CI: 1.053, 4.067) and a greater difficulty in managing the child’s school activities (OR = 2.531; 95% CI: 1.655, 3.868) and free time (OR = 1.651; 95% CI: 1.101, 2.478) were associated with an increased likelihood of caregiver desire for their child to return to in-person school in the fall. The COVID-19 pandemic had a wide-ranging impact on the behaviors of children with ASD and challenges for their caregivers.
Parent satisfaction with the parent-provider partnership and therapy service delivery for children with disabilities during COVID-19: associations with sociodemographic variables

AUTHOR(S)
Ashley N. Murphy; Ellie Bruckner; Linzy M. Pinkerton (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: Families, Systems, & Health
 The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) significantly disrupted therapy service delivery for children with disabilities and their families. Parents of children with disabilities have been particularly impacted as a large degree of responsibility has been placed on them to both manage and deliver therapies remotely. However, little is known regarding whether sociodemographic factors are associated with parents’ perceptions of therapy service delivery during COVID-19. This study explored the relationship between sociodemographic factors and parents’ satisfaction with therapies for children with disabilities during COVID-19. Two hundred seven parents of children with disabilities completed an online survey battery that included the Family-Provider Partnership Scale and sociodemographic characteristics and assessed their satisfaction with their child[ren]’s therapies during COVID-19.
Interrupted access to and use of family planning among youth in a community-based service in Zimbabwe during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Constancia V. Mavodza; Sarah Bernays; Constance R. S. Mackworth-Young (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: Studies in Family Planning
The COVID-19 pandemic has had serious impacts on economic, social, and health systems, and fragile public health systems have become overburdened in many countries, exacerbating existing service delivery challenges. This study describes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family planning services within a community-based integrated HIV and sexual and reproductive health intervention for youth aged 16–24 years being trialled in Zimbabwe (CHIEDZA). It examines the experiences of health providers and clients in relation to how the first year of the pandemic affected access to and use of contraceptives.
Family well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic: the risks of financial insecurity and coping

AUTHOR(S)
Marybel R. Gonzalez; Sandra A. Brown; William E. Pelham 3. (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: Journal of Research on Adolescence
During the COVID-19 pandemic, families have experienced unprecedented financial and social disruptions. This research studied the impact of preexisting psychosocial factors and pandemic-related financial and social disruptions in relation to family well-being among N = 4091 adolescents and parents during early summer 2020, participating in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive DevelopmentSM Study. Poorer family well-being was linked to prepandemic psychosocial and financial adversity and was associated with pandemic-related material hardship and social disruptions to routines. Parental alcohol use increased risk for worsening of family relationships, while a greater endorsement of coping strategies was mainly associated with overall better family well-being. Financial and mental health support may be critical for family well-being during and after a widespread crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Needs in an era of COVID-19: a preliminary investigation of self-reported needs of families who experienced rapid return as a result of government mandates

AUTHOR(S)
Nicole Gilbertson Wilke; Amanda Hiles Howard; Ian Forber Pratt

Published: May 2022   Journal: Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies
The COVID-19 pandemic has led some governments to mandate the rapid return of children in residential care to families. Constrained timelines and limited support lead to wellbeing risks for children and families in this situation. The goal of the present study was to better stand the needs of the families, as perceived by the children and families themselves. This can inform targeted service provision. Participants were 131 families who had experienced government-mandated rapid return in five nations. Using a qualitative design, results examined child and family perception of needs.
Lockdown practices: a portrait of young people in the family during the first lockdown in Portugal

AUTHOR(S)
Ana Sofia Ribeiro; Maria Manuel Vieira; Ana Nunes de Almeida

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of Youth Studies
Governments introduced protective public health measures, including lockdowns and social distancing, in response to the unprecedented global crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. For young people, such measures are particularly painful, as they entail an interruption of their transitions to adulthood, which generally require taking up their position in the public space and emerging as a recognised social peer, either through leaving the parental home, initiating an intimate relationship or getting a full-time job. In Portugal, where such transitions are often postponed, and young people cohabit with parents for much longer, lockdown meant withdrawal from the public space and living in an intensive family collective. This brought many challenges and created tension. Based on the results of a non-representative online survey on the impacts of the pandemic in Portugal, this article focuses how young people aged 16–24 adapted to the 2020 lockdown, using the conceptual lens of familialism. The results show that familialism remains a key support system in adversity, evidencing intergenerational solidarity through everyday practices of resilience and (self-) care, renewing and remaking social bonds. Individual distancing practices are deployed backstage, however, mitigating and nuancing the overwhelming hold of familialism.
Virtual care during the pandemic: multi-family group sessions for Hong Kong Chinese families of adolescents with intellectual disabilities

AUTHOR(S)
Julia Wing Ka Lo; Joyce Lai Chong Ma; Mooly Mei Ching Wong (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Journal of Intellectual Disabilities
The suspension of social services in Hong Kong during the COVID-19 pandemic increased the caregiver strain for families of adolescent children with intellectual disabilities, possibly aggravating their family relationships. This article reports on an online Multi-Family Group (MFG) conducted during the pandemic for Hong Kong Chinese families of adolescents affected by mild-to-moderate intellectual disabilities. A thematic analysis of the experiences of the participating service users revealed three positive effects of the intervention model: improved family relationships, mutual helpful influences occurring among families, and a new understanding of family members with intellectual disabilities. The therapeutic group process used to promote family development is illustrated by a group vignette. The challenges and the practical considerations for conducting an MFG online are discussed.
Italian same-sex parenting in times of COVID-19: constructing parenthood on insecure grounds

AUTHOR(S)
Salvatore Monaco

Published: January 2022   Journal: Family Relations

This article focuses on the challenges same-sex-parent families in Italy have faced in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. It is universally acknowledged that Italy was the first victim of the novel coronavirus in Europe. Due to the hazards caused by the pandemic, the Italian government implemented a series of countermeasures to help families, resolving the increasingly irreconcilable conflicts between work and childcare, providing financing to the most poverty-stricken families. However, some initiatives have made it clear that in Italy, not all people have received equal benefits. To further investigate and bring awareness to the issue of the vulnerability of Italian same-sex-parent families in times of COVID-19, 40 in-depth interviews were conducted online between March and June 2020 to collect data on attitudes, opinions, and behaviors at the individual level.

Building long-term family resilience through universal prevention: 10-year parent and child outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Mark E. Feinberg; Lindsey Gedaly; Jacqueline Mogle (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Family Process
As the COVID-19 pandemic has been highly stressful for parents and children, it is clear that strategies that promote long-term family resilience are needed to protect families in future crises. One such strategy, the Family Foundations program, is focused on promoting supportive coparenting at the transition to parenthood. In a randomized trial, we tested the long-term intervention effects of Family Foundations on parent, child, and family well-being one to two months after the imposition of a national shelter-in-place public health intervention in 2020. This study used regression models to test intervention impact on outcomes reported on by parents in a standard questionnaire format and a series of 8 days of daily reports. It also tested moderation of intervention impact by parent depression and coparenting relationship quality.
Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on family mental health in Canada: findings from a multi-round cross-sectional study

AUTHOR(S)
Kimberly C. Thomson; Emily Jenkins; Randip Gill (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Pandemic-related disruptions, including school, child care, and workplace closures, financial stressors, and relationship challenges, present unique risks to families’ mental health. We examined the mental health impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic among parents with children <18 years old living at home over three study rounds in May 2020 (n = 618), September 2020 (n = 804), and January 2021 (n = 602). Data were collected using a cross-sectional online survey of adults living in Canada, nationally representative by age, gender, household income, and region. Chi-square tests and logistic regression compared outcomes between parents and the rest of the sample, among parent subgroups, and over time. Parents reported worsened mental health compared with before the pandemic, as well as not coping well, increased alcohol use, increased suicidal thoughts/feelings, worsened mental health among their children, and increases in both negative and positive parent–child interactions. Mental health challenges were more frequently reported among parents with pre-existing mental health conditions, disabilities, and financial/relationship stressors. Increased alcohol use was more frequently reported among younger parents and men. Sustained mental health challenges of parents throughout nearly a year of the pandemic suggest that intervention efforts to support family mental health may not be adequately meeting families’ needs.
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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.