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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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How child inclusive were Australia's responses to COVID-19?

Sharon Bessell; Celia Vuckovic

Published: August 2022   Journal: Australian Journal of Social Issues
From March 2020, Australia introduced a range of policies to respond to COVID-19, most of which impacted significantly on the lives of children. This article applies a child-centred framework, developed from rights-based participatory research with children, to analyse how children have been represented in policy narratives around COVID-19 and the extent to which policy responses have been child-inclusive or child-centred.
Transformative lessons learned from COVID-19 to reimagine child welfare work

Amy S. He; Julie A. Cederbaum; Robin Leake

Published: July 2022   Journal: Journal of Public Child Welfare
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and because of the critical and essential nature of child welfare work, this workforce moved out of agency settings to remote work. Drawing from the theory of large systems change, this study explored child welfare caseworkers’ perspectives on how organizational changes due to the pandemic affected them as workers and their recommendations for sustained organizational change in child welfare. This narrative analysis explored secondary data collected in May 2020 about workforce needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic (N = 783). Regarding the impact of COVID-19, three themes emerged: (a) job impact (no change, limited change or positive outcome); (b) challenges (engaging with clients, conducting assessments, meeting with families, and using technology); and (c) impact on worker well-being (safety concerns, job stress, anxiety about the future). Three themes also emerged for recommendations for permanent workplace changes: (a) workplace flexibility (work from home, hybrid schedule); (b) better use of technology (virtual meetings and supporting remote access), and (c) worker well-being (support for worker safety and work–life balance and integration).
Early (years) reactions: comparative analysis of early childhood policies and programs during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic

Joanne Kearon; Sarah Carsley; Meta van den Heuvel (et al.)

Published: July 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health volume

During the first wave of COVID-19 there was little evidence to guide appropriate child and family programs and policy supports. This study compared policies and programs implemented to support early child health and well-being during the first wave of COVID-19 in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore, the UK, and the USA. Program and policy themes were focused on prenatal care, well-baby visits and immunization schedules, financial supports, domestic violence and housing, childcare supports, child protective services, and food security.

Parenting in the pandemic: exploring the experiences of families with children on Universal Credit before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Marsha Wood; Fran Bennett

Published: June 2022   Journal: Families, Relationships and Societies
The expansion of the UK’s support for families with children from the late 1990s was put into reverse over the decade from 2010. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore, parents may have felt that they had less support from the government and increased private responsibility in bringing up the next generation. Drawing on qualitative interviews with parents in England and Scotland claiming Universal Credit, this article analyses parenting experiences for low-income families during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular concerning the costs of looking after children, caring for children, and family relationships/mental health.
Healthfulness of online grocery shopping behaviors: analyzing receipt data from low-income households with children
Published: June 2022   Journal: Current Developments in Nutrition

Online grocery services hold potential to reduce physical barriers to equitable healthy food procurement, particularly among low-income families who often live far from groceries stores. During COVID-19, the USDA authorized the use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits online in some retailers across the US. We aimed to evaluate the nutritional quality of online grocery purchases among SNAP-eligible families. Itemized receipt data was analyzed from a larger mixed methods study of online grocery shopping behaviors of SNAP-eligible families in Maryland. Of the 310 participants who completed the survey, 39 submitted grocery receipts. Of those, 19 participants submitted receipts with complete data for nutritional analysis on total amount spent, number of items purchased and units, weight (oz), and % of expenditure on fruits, vegetables, and sugar sweetened beverages (SSB). Nutritional analysis compared purchases of propensity score matched samples of SNAP (n = 14) versus SNAP-eligible non-participant families (n = 5) using a zero-inflated Poisson regression, controlling for sociodemographic factors.

Data use aids adaptation and continuation of maternal, infant and young child nutrition (MIYCN) services in urban health facilities in Bangladesh during the COVID-19 pandemic

Jessica Escobar-DeMarco; Santhia Ireen; Rowshan Kabir (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: Current Developments in Nutrition

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted health services worldwide. Alive and Thrive (A&T) is testing MIYCN integration into non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) health services in eight facilities in Dhaka. We aimed to develop a data-driven urban MIYCN intervention pathway adapted to continue delivering nutrition services during COVID-19. A&T used its learnings from previous interventions and formative research to design an urban MIYCN intervention with a social and behavior change strategy set to improve nutrition practices. Mixed monitoring data were used to track the intervention elements capacity building, demand creation, service delivery, and supervision; and COVID-19 situation domains lockdown, restrictions, guidelines, staff turnover, contextual and behavior changes, adaptations, and budget implications. COVID-19 studies as well as external value chain, market, and food security reports were used. Monthly monitoring data were used to identify and validate potential adaptations.

The children left behind: the need for public policies to meet the needs of children orphaned by COVID-19

Gine Tendriana; Vani Pravita Yuliani

Published: May 2022
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the social, cultural, economic, education, tourism, trade and other sectors in Indonesia. Of all of these, health and humanitarian issues are those most highlighted. This research involved a literature search of books, journal articles and manuscripts of government regulations. Discussing the death rate from COVID-19 is not only a question of how many people have lost their lives in Indonesia due to contracting the disease, but also of the conditions and survival of the families left behind, especially children who have lost their parents due to COVID-19. The psychological aspects of the families of COVID-19 victims have often been neglected. As yet, the Government still largely focuses on the sick or dead and has not paid much attention to the bereaved families, especially children, who are in dire need of assistance. In Indonesia, there are 11,045 children who have become orphans, fatherless, or motherless because their parents or caregivers died due to COVID-19.1 This raises concerns regarding how their clothing, food and shelter needs can be met, along with their needs related to the rights to education, physical and psychological health, and security and safety. Therefore, procedures, coordination, schemes for protecting children’s rights, and mitigation actions involving public policies must notice and meet the needs of children who have lost their parents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The public library's role in youth learning: remediation and acceleration during COVID

Elizabeth McChesney

Published: May 2022   Journal: Journal of Library Administration
This article summarizes key research findings about academic learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic and how public libraries can help youth with learning remediation and acceleration. Given the educational crisis, it is urgent that public library services and programs create more equitable practices for all children, particularly children of color. Finally, the article highlights specific practices instituted by several library systems that address COVID-related learning loss and are aligned to two areas of national priority: summer learning and out-of-school time.
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

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

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

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

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

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

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.
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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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