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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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The COVID-19 pandemic: health impact on unaccompanied migrant children.

AUTHOR(S)
Jennifer L Siegel

Published: May 2022   Journal: Social Work
From the point of apprehension by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the U.S.–Mexican border to their reunification with sponsors in U.S. communities, unaccompanied children (UC) face political, social, and economic conditions, heightening their risk for mental and physical health burdens that may be exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such risk underscores the importance of social work practice and advocacy for the improved treatment and experiences of UC. This article uses a structural vulnerability conceptual lens to summarize the existing literature regarding UC and argues that UC’s liminal immigration status, economic precarity, and lack of healthcare access place this group at high structural vulnerability during the pandemic. Further, this article identifies and describes three contexts of structural vulnerability of UC that are important points of social work intervention: (1) at the border, where migrant children are denied their legal right to seek protection; (2) in detention and shelter facilities; and (3) during reunification with sponsors. This article concludes with important practice and policy opportunities for social workers to pursue to obtain social justice for an important and highly vulnerable migrant child population.
Unintended trauma: the role of public health policy in the detention of migrant children

AUTHOR(S)
Michele Statz; Lauren Heidbrink

Published: July 2021   Journal: The Lancet Regional Health - Americas
Within the first three months of 2021, an unprecedented 33,000 unaccompanied children arrived at the United States-Mexico border. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responded by opening new facilities for detained migrant children in converted convention centers, stadiums, and military bases. Ranging from 1000 to 5000 beds, these facilities are not unique to the U.S.: Europe and Australia have adopted similar models of detaining arriving migrants and refugees.1 Responding to these trends, global public health scholars have identified how large post-reception models negatively impact migrants’ mental and physical health and further contribute to increased vulnerability to COVID-19.2 Considerably less attention has been paid to how pandemic-related public health policies have actually fueled the recent demand for mass detention facilities.
Best of UNICEF Research and Evaluation 2020

Evidence and objective assessment are needed more than ever to help enhance the rights and well-being of the world’s children. Researching the changing world around us and evaluating progress are two sides of the same coin, both critical to reimagining a better future for children. In recognition of this, UNICEF celebrates and showcases innovative and influential research and evaluations from our offices around the world every year. For 2020, Innocenti and the Evaluation Office joined forces to find the most rigorous UNICEF studies with greatest influence on policies and programmes that benefit children.

Populations at Risk: Implications of COVID-19 for Hunger, Migration and Displacement
Institution: International Organization for Migration, World Food Programme
Published: November 2020

The joint WFP-IOM report highlights the close interconnection between hunger, conflict, migration and displacement, which has been further aggravated by COVID-19. The study explores the impact of the pandemic on the livelihoods, food security and protection of migrant workers households dependent on remittances and the forcibly displaced, including unaccompanied and separated children. Using the latest available data, the report highlights food security trends in some of the major migration and hunger hotspots across the world. The key findings have informed joint recommendations put forward by both agencies to mitigate the immediate negative effects on mobile and displaced populations, while preparing the pathway to recovery.

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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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Check our quarterly thematic digests on children and COVID-19

Each quarterly thematic digest features the latest evidence drawn from the Children and COVID-19 Research Library on a particular topic of interest.
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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.