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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Shortfalls in social spending in low- and middle-income countries: COVID-19 and shrinking finance for social spending
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: February 2022

Financing quality social services will require increased public investment and greater mobilization of both domestic and international resources in the post-COVID era. Currently, low- and middle-income countries invest, on average, just one third of their total government expenditure in social spending on education, health and social protection. However, the fiscal space to enhance social spending remains constrained in many parts of the world. Given the scale of the challenge facing many countries, a renewed focus on financing social spending is needed to address widening inequalities. This policy brief is the second in a series that assesses key issues affecting social spending as part of UNICEF’s work on Public Finance for Children. The brief examines how recent trends are impacting on the financing available for, and directed to, social spending in low- and middle-income countries in different regions, using secondary analysis of public expenditure data collected by international organizations. It calculates median spending figures by region and income group, using World Bank regional aggregates for domestic spending.

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.

Socially isolated and digitally excluded: a qualitative exploratory study of the lives of Roma teenage mothers during the COVID-19 lockdown

AUTHOR(S)
Anca Velicu; Monica Barbovschi; Ileana Rotaru (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Technology in Society

This paper explores the interlinks between multiple layers of exclusion and deprivation of Roma adolescents mothers in the context of COVID-19 pandemic, in order to understand: a) how different types of exclusion (e.g., digital, social, educational) overlap and how are those types of exclusion lived and perceived by teenage mothers; and b) whether and how the COVID-19 pandemic changed existing inequalities in their situation. In our paper, we refer to teenage mothers to describe mothers who gave birth before the age of 18. The study has a qualitative exploratory approach and relies on ten interviews conducted with Roma teenage mothers in peripheral urban areas in Romania during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in the Spring of 2020. As a theoretical framework, the study employs the Relative Digital Deprivation Theory, (Helsper, 2016) which touches upon three dimensions of digital divides while revealing different markers of agency that young mothers manifest.

COVID-19 Capacity Strengthening Response Review 2020-21

AUTHOR(S)
Lucy Hall; Pawel Mania

Institution: Save the Children, Humanitarian Leadership Academy
Published: October 2021
From March 2020 to April 2021 the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA) delivered 81 learning solutions as a capacity strengthening response to the COVID19 pandemic. They varied from digital learning pathways to one off webinars or programme adaptations, together bringing the digital learning audience of more than 18,000, in addition to engaging with 39 Save the Children Country Offices (COs). The Save the Children (SC) staff was the primary audience of most of those interventions, but some open access courses have had most engagement (COVID19 Learning Pathway, Integrated Public Health Hub, webinar series). This work has happened against the backdrop of the global public health crisis, that unlike previous emergencies directly impacted the HLA team, posing new challenges in terms of delivery.
Coproduction and satisfaction with online schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from European countries

AUTHOR(S)
Lorenzo Cicatiello; Elina De Simone; Marcella D’Uva (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Public Management Review
This paper investigates the effect of parents’ coproduction in online schooling on satisfaction with educational services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using European cross country microdata from the 2020 Eurofound survey, it reveals that parents’ involvement in home schooling is strongly correlated with their satisfaction with educational services. These results contribute to the on-going debate regarding the importance of citizens’ involvement in service delivery during the pandemic, and, in particular, on the related effects in terms of subjective satisfaction.
From “nobody's clapping for us” to “bad moms”: COVID-19 and the circle of childcare in Canada

AUTHOR(S)
Julia Smith

Published: October 2021   Journal: Gender, Work & Organization
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of childcare to national economies in general and women's economic participation in particular, spurring renewed interest in childcare policy in many countries that have implemented lockdowns. This paper adopts a circle of care framework to analyzes how COVID-19 has affected paid childcare, unpaid childcare and other paid work, and the relationship between these sectors. Analysis is grounded in the lived experiences of parents and childcare educators, documented through 16 semi-structured interviews during the initial lockdown (March–June 2020) in British Columbia, Canada. Experiences from educators suggest their safety was not prioritized, and that their contributions were undervalued and went unrecognized. Mothers, who provided the majority of unpaid care, not only lost income due to care demands, but struggled to access necessities, with some reporting increased personal insecurity. Those attempting to work from home also experienced feelings of guilt and distress as they tried to manage the triple burden. Similarities of experiences across the circle of care suggest the COVID-19 childcare policy response in BC Canada downloaded care responsibilities on to women without corresponding recognition or support, causing women to absorb the costs of care work, with potential long-term negative effects on women's careers and well-being, as well as on the resilience of the circle of care.
COVID-19 and health sector development plans in Africa: the impact on maternal and child health outcomes in Uganda

AUTHOR(S)
M. G. Atim; V. D. Kajogoo; D. Amare (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Risk Management and Healthcare Policy
Health Sector Development Plans (HSDPs) aim to accelerate movement towards achieving sustainable development goals for health, reducing inequalities, and ending poverty. Reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) services are vulnerable to economic imbalances, including health insecurity, unmet need for healthcare, and low health expenditure. The same vulnerability influences the potential of a country to combat global outbreaks such as the COVID-19. This paper aimed to provide some important insights into the impacts of COVID-19 on RMNCH indicators and outcomes of the HSDP in Uganda.
To involve or not to involve: youth participation in Indonesia's pandemic campaign

AUTHOR(S)
Nico Gamalliel; Reynardi Larope Sutanto; Adiba Nabila Hana Wardhani

Published: October 2021   Journal: The Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific
The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed unprecedented repercussions towards humanity, and in light of all the disruptions, developing countries are particularly hit with a bigger blow. Efforts outside the constraints of bureaucracy are thus needed more than ever in this trying time, and the youth may represent vast yet overlooked potency. Reports and studies continue to tout how the youth of Indonesia are willing to be involved as volunteers during the pandemic. Moreover, our experiences have shown how an organized massive force of youth can help in COVID-19 handling.
Characteristics of pandemic work–life balance in Slovenian military families during the lockdown: who has paid the highest price?

AUTHOR(S)
Janja Vuga Beršnak; Živa Humer; Bojana Lobe (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Current Sociology
In April 2020, a survey was conducted among Slovenian military families, being one of the first surveys to be carried out in the country after the outbreak of the pandemic. The military was labeled a crucial institution in the efforts to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus and was appointed to various activities, leading to a considerable increase in its workload. The burden of care and unpaid work at that time also intensified, becoming shifted onto the military family, particularly civilian female spouses. The survey’s purpose was to measure how military families evaluated their success in balancing between working from home, household work, childcare, and home schooling during the pandemic lockdown. The risk factors were observed on the micro (i.e., lack of extended family support, institutional childcare, and school lockdown) and macro (i.e., military support, national support measures) social levels. The analysis reveals that when it comes to military families the greatest price has been paid by female civilian spouses. The number of children and their age influence parents’ self-evaluation of their success with work–life balance. The results show that big families and families with primary school children have been struggling the most during the lockdown. Surprisingly, dual-serving families felt the most successful.
Home, but left alone: time at home and child abuse and neglect during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Lindsey Rose Bullinger; Angela Boy; Megan Feely (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Family Issues
This study used high-frequency mobile phone movement data and quick-release administrative data from Georgia to examine how time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic is related to child maltreatment referrals. Findings show that referrals plummeted by 58% relative to previous years, driven by fewer referrals from education personnel. After this initial decline, however, each 15 minutes at home was associated with an increase in referrals of material neglect by 3.5% and supervisory neglect by 1%. Our results describe how children have fared during the initial wave of the pandemic, and the results have long-term implications for child development and well-being.
Health disparities and their effects on children and their caregivers during the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Lynn C. Smitherman; William Christopher Golden; Jennifer R. Walton

Published: October 2021   Journal: Pediatric Clinics of North America

Health disparities are defined as differences among specific populations in the ability to achieve full health potential (as measured by differences in incidence, prevalence, mortality, burden of disease, and other adverse health conditions). Among children, multiple factors contribute to these disparities, including economic stability, and access to health care. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, before the current pandemic, 12 million children in the United States were living in poverty in 2019, including one-third of African American and Native American children and 25% of Latinx children.8 During the same period, of the 4.4 million children without health insurance, 14% were Native American, 9% were of Hispanic descent, and 18% were immigrants. At present, owing to the impact of the pandemic on job security, more than 50% of African American, Latinx, and multiethnic adults are now without medical insurance, directly affecting the health security of their children.8 With the onset of the pandemic and the social and political upheaval felt by many disenfranchised communities, these well-documented disparities (and the importance of addressing them) have again been brought to the attention of the medical community. This overview will examine the effects of these health disparities in various populations of children in this country. We will first examine the historical context of health disparities, how they developed, and why they still exist. We will then examine how specifically the COVID-19 pandemic impacted these disparities among children and adolescents, both directly and indirectly. Finally, we hope to provide some recommendations to reduce these disparities.

Physical distancing messages targeting youth on the social media accounts of Canadian public health entities and the use of behavioral change techniques

AUTHOR(S)
Sheryll Dimanlig-Cruz; Arum Han; Samantha Lancione (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: BMC Public Health
Physical distancing (PD) is an important public health strategy to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and has been promoted by public health authorities through social media. Although youth have a tendency to engage in high-risk behaviors that could facilitate COVID-19 transmission, there is limited research on the characteristics of PD messaging targeting this population on social media platforms with which youth frequently engage. This study examined social media posts created by Canadian public health entities (PHEs) with PD messaging aimed at youth and young adults aged 16–29 years and reported behavioral change techniques (BCTs) used in these posts.
COVID-19-associated school closures and related efforts to sustain education and subsidized meal programs, United States, February 18–June 30, 2020

AUTHOR(S)
Nicole Zviedrite; Jeffrey D. Hodis; Ferdous Jahan (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Plos One
Pre-emptive school closures are frontline community mitigation measures recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for implementation during severe pandemics. This study describes the spatiotemporal patterns of publicly announced school closures implemented in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and assesses how public K-12 districts adjusted their methods of education delivery and provision of subsidized meals. During February 18–June 30, 2020, it used daily systematic media searches to identify publicly announced COVID-19–related school closures lasting ≥1 day in the United States (US).
Challenges in maternal and child health services delivery and access during pandemics or public health disasters in low-and middle-income countries: a systematic review

AUTHOR(S)
Krushna Chandra Sahoo; Sapna Negi; Kripalini Patel (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Healthcare
Maternal and child health (MCH) has been a global priority for many decades and is an essential public health service. Ensuring seamless delivery is vital for desirable MCH outcomes. This systematic review outlined the challenges in accessing and continuing MCH services during public health emergencies—pandemics and disasters. A comprehensive search approach was built based on keywords and MeSH terms relevant to ‘MCH services’ and ‘pandemics/disasters’. The online repositories Medline, CINAHL, Psyc INFO, and Epistemonikos were searched for studies. We included twenty studies—seven were on the Ebola outbreak, two on the Zika virus, five related to COVID-19, five on disasters, and one related to conflict situations. The findings indicate the potential impact of emergencies on MCH services. Low utilization and access to services have been described as common challenges. The unavailability of personal safety equipment and fear of infection were primary factors that affected service delivery. The available evidence, though limited, indicates the significant effect of disasters and pandemics on MCH. However, more primary in-depth studies are needed to understand better the overall impact of emergencies, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, on MCH.
Reflections from the forgotten frontline: ‘the reality for children and staff in residential care’ during COVID‐19

AUTHOR(S)
Sarah Parry DClinPsy; Tracey Williams; Jeremy Oldfield

Published: May 2021   Journal: Health and Social Care in the Community
Currently, 78,150 children are in care in England, with 11% of the most vulnerable living in 2,460 residential homes due to multitype traumas. These children require safe and secure trauma-informed therapeutic care. However, the children's residential care workforce delivering this vital care is an unrepresented, under-researched and largely unsupported professional group. The workforce undertakes physically and emotionally challenging work in difficult conditions, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Practitioner wellbeing is directly associated with outcomes for children. Therefore, we sought to understand how experiences within the workforce could improve overall working conditions, and thus outcomes for staff and children.
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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.