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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Lone parenthood in the COVID-19 context: Israeli single gay fathers' perspective

AUTHOR(S)
Maya Tsfati; Dorit Segal-Engelchin

Published: April 2022   Journal: Child & Family Social Work
This article focuses on Israeli single gay fathers, using the Stress Process Model (SPM) as a framework to investigate their fathering experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thematic analysis of 15 in-depth semi-structured interviews with Israeli single gay fathers during the third national lockdown revealed that their parenting experiences during the pandemic were shaped by both COVID-related stress exposure and interpersonal resources, which the fathers viewed as interactive. These fathers described three main pandemic-specific stressors: financial insecurity and workplace transformation, feelings of loneliness and isolation and health-related fears.
The unheld child: social work, social distancing and the possibilities and limits to child protection during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Harry Ferguson; Sarah Pink; Laura Kelly

Published: March 2022   Journal: The British Journal of Social Work
The COVID-19 pandemic changed dramatically the ways social workers engaged with children and families. This article presents findings from our research into the effects of COVID-19 on social work and child protection in England during the first nine months of the pandemic. Its aim is to provide new knowledge to enable realistic expectations of what it was possible for social workers to achieve and particularly the limits to child protection. Such perspective has become more important than ever due to knowledge of children who died tragically from abuse despite social work involvement during the pandemic.
Relationship-based practice and digital technology in child and family social work: learning from practice during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Ruth Copson; Anne M. Murphy; Laura Cook (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Developmental Child Welfare
Vital services provided by social workers to children in care or on the edge of care were largely delivered “online” during the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper explores the potential impact of these changes on vulnerable children and their families. Relationship-based practice is integral to social work and the shift to digital communication during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to accelerated practice changes and implications for relationship building both with and between service users. Going forward, social workers and other professionals are likely to move to an increasingly hybrid model of communication, combining both digital and face-to-face methods. This article identifies the impact of digital communication on relationships in professional practice, drawing on three studies of digital communication in the UK carried out at the University of East Anglia.
COVID-19 and child welfare policy in Chile: the experience of front-line workers

AUTHOR(S)
Javiera Garcia-Meneses; Ivan Chanez-Cortes; Paulina Montoya Ceballos

Published: February 2022   Journal: International Social Work
COVID-19 arrived in Chile amid social protests that questioned the State’s ability to protect children’s rights. Nevertheless, child policy workers continued working despite the drastic changes to their daily work generated by both the pandemic and conflicts within the child welfare system. This article aims to understand how these workers have experienced and overcome these challenges. It shows that they have continued doing interventions with children at the expense of their economic resources and well-being. These findings highlight the need for the government to take immediate action, offering guidelines to improve child policy workers’ labor conditions.
Addressing equity in schools: youth participatory action research and transformative social and emotional learning during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Chastity L. Owens; Annette H. Johnson; Aubrey Thornton

Published: December 2021   Journal: Children & Schools
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and rise in racial injustices signaled the need to engage students in macro-level interventions to maximize their contributions to their schools, communities, and society. School social workers are uniquely positioned to elevate student voices, hone their critical thinking skills, and capitalize on their strengths and assets. Critical thinking skills can help students analyze the world around them by engaging them in addressing equity issues in their schools and communities. This article introduces the concept of transformative social and emotional learning (TSEL) within the context of youth-led participatory action research (YPAR) and a critical service learning (CSL) framework for school social workers to promote student empowerment. Through CSL, students cultivate advocacy skills by identifying, investigating, and taking action to address concerns. Authors include a case example demonstrating TSEL and YPAR, using CSL as a school social work intervention that recognizes and promotes students’ strengths and assets.
Needs of children and families during Spring 2020 COVID-19 school closures: findings from a national survey

AUTHOR(S)
Kate R. Watson; Ron Avi Astor; Rami Benbenishty (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Social Work
Despite extensive reports during the COVID-19 pandemic of the academic challenges facing students, and the effects of online learning on academic achievements, we have little information regarding the needs and difficulties of K–12 students and their families from a social work perspective. The present article shares findings from a nationwide survey of 1,275 school social workers (SSWs) reporting on their clients—schools, children, and families—during the spring 2020 COVID-19 school closures. SSWs indicated that the children and families they served had significant unmet basic needs, including for food, healthcare, and housing. Poverty and mental health compounded pandemic difficulties, which were associated with the sociodemographic makeup of schools. Student engagement in social work services during the closures was significantly lower than prepandemic levels, generally due to unmet material needs. Several policy and practice implications arise from these findings, including a need for additional services for students and families, a plan to address structural inequities in our schools and communities, coordinated outreach to reengage missing students, and recognition of the strong work being done by school staff coupled with a need for additional supports and resources to combat persistent inequality.
Social work and child protection for a post-pandemic world: the re-making of practice during COVID-19 and its renewal beyond it

AUTHOR(S)
Harry Ferguson; Laura Kelly; Sarah Pink

Published: May 2021   Journal: Journal of Social Work Practice
The Covid-19 pandemic presented social workers and managers in child protection with complex practical and moral dilemmas about how to respond to children and families while social distancing. This paper draws on our research into practice during the pandemic to show some of the ways social workers changed their practice and to provide theories and concepts that can help to account for how such change occurs. Drawing on anthropological uses of the concepts of ‘contingency’ and ‘improvisation’ and Hartmut Rosa’s sociological work on ‘adaptive transformation’ and ‘resonance’ this paper shows how social workers creatively ‘re-made’ key aspects of their practice, by recognising inequalities and providing material help, through digital casework, movement and walking encounters, and by going into homes and taking risks by getting close to children and parents. It is vital that such improvisation and remaking are learned from and sustained post-pandemic as this can renew practice and enable social workers to better enhance the lives of service users.
Adding salt to wounds”: parentification among children living with parents with mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of social workers

AUTHOR(S)
Ebenezer Cudjoe; Debora Daisy Kwabia; Marcus Yu Lung Chiu (et al.)

Published: March 2021   Journal: Developmental Child Welfare
Children living with a parent with mental illness experience challenges as some may take on the roles of their parents. Physical distancing restrictions introduced because of the COVID-19 pandemic means that many children will spend more time at home which could heighten the impact of parental mental illness. For many of these children, engaging in activities with peers provides them a sort of normal life outside their family environment. However, face-to-face interactions with others outside the family may be limited under existing public health protocols. Moreover, services for children in families where there is parental mental illness may also be limited considering limitations placed on people’s movements to reduce the rate of COVID-19 infections.
Serving children and adolescents in need during the COVID-19 pandemic: evaluation of service-learning subjects with and without face-to-face interaction

AUTHOR(S)
Li Lin; Daniel T. L. Shek

Published: February 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has posed a great challenge to teaching and learning activities in higher education, particularly for service-learning subjects that involve intensive human interaction. Although service-learning may be transformed to a virtual mode in response to the pandemic, little is known about the impact of this new mode on student learning and well-being. This paper reports a university credit-bearing service-learning subject that involves services toward needy children and adolescents in a non-face-to-face mode under COVID-19 pandemic. The study examined the effectiveness of this subject by comparing it with the same subject delivered via a face-to-face mode.
Child welfare workers and peritraumatic distress: the impact of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
J. Jay Miller; Chunling Niu; Shannon Moody

Published: October 2020   Journal: Children and Youth Services Review
Whilst there is broad consensus that COVID-19 has had a pernicious impact on child welfare services, in general, and child welfare workers, specifically, this notion has not been thoroughly examined in the literature. This exploratory study examined COVID-19 related peritraumatic distress among child welfare workers (N = 1996) in one southeastern state in the United States (U.S.). Findings suggest that the study sample was experiencing distress levels above normal ranges; 46.4% of participants were experiencing mild or severe distress. Sexual orientation, self-reported physical and mental health, relationship status, supervision status, and financial stability impacted distress levels experienced by child welfare workers. Overall, data suggest that COVID-19 is impacting child welfare workers and there is a need to conceptualize, implement, and evaluate initiatives aimed at assuaging distress among child welfare workers.
Reflections on practice during a pandemic: how do we continue to ensure effective communication during the COVID‐19 pandemic?

AUTHOR(S)
Wendy Roberts

Published: September 2020   Journal: Child Abuse Review

Social work is about building relationships, and communicating effectively is essential for this. Communication is a key element in building trust and relationships with families. Social workers wanted to keep good communication with workers as the relationship and maintaining the flow of communication are also considered important to a mentoring relationship. But the pandemic presented a dilemma of not knowing when or how often to contact workers to offer support.

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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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Read the latest quarterly digest on children and disabilities.

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The first digest covers children and youth mental health under COVID-19.

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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.