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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
SPOTLIGHT

Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19

COVID-19 lockdowns have significantly disrupted the daily lives of children and adolescents, with increased time at home, online learning and limited physical social interaction. This report seeks to understand the immediate effects on their mental health. Covering more than 130,000 children and adolescents across 22 countries, the evidence shows increased stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as increased alcohol and substance use, and  externalizing behavioural problems. Children and adolescents also reported positive coping strategies, resilience, social connectedness through digital media, more family time, and relief from academic stress. Factors such as demographics, relationships and pre-existing conditions are critical. To ensure children and adolescents are supported, the report recommends building the evidence on the longer-term impact of the pandemic on child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries, including vulnerable populations. To ensure children and adolescents are supported, the report recommends building the evidence on the longer-term impact of the pandemic on child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries, including vulnerable populations.
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COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition
Blog Blog

COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

In 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries were in food crises or worse, and 2 billion people did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. COVID-19 has exacerbated these hardships and may result in an additional 121 million people facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Further, since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries. The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally. It shows how vulnerable the children participating in these schemes are, how coping and mitigation measures are often only short-term solutions, and how prioritizing school re-opening is critical. For instance, it highlights how girls are at greater risk of not being in school or of being taken out of school early, which may lead to poor nutrition and health for themselves and their children. However, well-designed school feeding programmes have been shown to enable catch-up from early growth failure and other negative shocks. As such, once schools re-open, school meal schemes can help address the deprivation that children have experienced during the closures and provide an incentive for parents to send and keep their children, especially girls, in school.
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Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals
Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals
Published: 2020 Innocenti Research Report
This report explores how the role of families, and family policies from around the world, can contribute to meeting the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Given the key role that both families and family policies have in determining social progress, and the national and international focus on meeting the SDGs by 2030, the timing of the publication is opportune. The report summarizes reviews of evidence across six SDGs that cover poverty, health, education, gender equality, youth unemployment, and ending violence to highlight some important issues that policymakers might consider when making future policies work for families, and family policies work for the future. A key contribution of the work, given the broad scope of the SDG ambitions, has been to map how the successes of family-focused policies and programmes in one SDG have also been successful in contributing to positive outcomes in other goal areas.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 276 | Tags: family, family policy, SDGs
Key Findings on Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals: Synthesis Report
Key Findings on Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals: Synthesis Report

AUTHOR(S)
Dominic Richardson

Published: 2018 Innocenti Research Report
This synthesis report, ‘Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Key Findings’ explores how the role of families, and family policies from around the world, can contribute to meeting the SDG targets. Given the key role families and family policies play in determining social progress, and in view of the national and international focus on meeting the SDGs by 2030, the timing of this publication is opportune. The report summarizes evidence across the six SDGs that cover poverty, health, education, gender equality, youth unemployment, and ending violence. It highlights important issues that policy makers may wish to consider when making future policies work for families, and family policies work for the future. Given the broad scope of the SDG ambitions, a key contribution of this work is to map how the successes of family-focused policies and programmes in one SDG have been successful in contributing to positive outcomes in other SDG goal areas.
Pre-crisis Conditions and Government Policy Responses: Chile and Mexico during the Great Recession
Pre-crisis Conditions and Government Policy Responses: Chile and Mexico during the Great Recession

AUTHOR(S)
Bruno Martorano

Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
Chile and Mexico reacted to the crisis by implementing several policy responses, they achieved different outcomes. In particular, the Chilean economy recovered faster than the Mexican one. However, the main differences are related to social outcomes. On one hand, the Gini coefficient decreased in both countries. On the other hand, both overall and child poverty dropped in Chile while they rose sharply in Mexico. , Chile introduced a stimulus package twice as large the Mexican one. When the financial crisis arrived in late 2008 - Chile and Mexico started from different positions, they generated a different public effort, which in turn led to different economic and social results.
AIDS, Public Policy and Child Well-being
AIDS, Public Policy and Child Well-being
Published: 2007 Innocenti Publications
This study addresses one of the greatest challenges of our time: the damage caused by HIV and AIDS to the well-being of children and families. With 38.6 million people affected by HIV in 2006, with HIV prevalence at antenatal clinics exceeding 40 per cent in areas of Botswana and KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), with nationwide adult prevalence in excess of the critical threshold of 20 per cent in several countries, and with the prospect of a rapid spread of the disease in large swathes of India, China and the Russian Federation, the future of child well-being is seriously threatened. Certainly, in the 50 or so countries affected by the disease, the Millennium Development Goals in the field of child survival, education, poverty and basic rights will be missed, often by a large margin.
Poverty, Inequality and Policy Affecting Vulnerable Groups in Moldova
Poverty, Inequality and Policy Affecting Vulnerable Groups in Moldova
Published: 2006 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper analyzes the changes that have intervened in the field of income poverty and human poverty since the onset of the transition in Moldova. With a biblical contraction of GDP, a fast rise in inequality, a drop in social expenditure and a weakening of civil society, most indicators of income poverty and human poverty deteriorated sharply after 1991. A clear improvement is evident since 2001, but most indicators of well-being still have to recover their pre-transition levels. There is some scope for social and macroeconomic policy to help reduce the negative inheritance of the first ten years of transition. Macroeconomic policy is rather deflationary, and keeps aggregate growth below what is needed to eradicate poverty quickly while paying little attention to its impact on inequality. There is room therefore to place greater emphasis on an equitable pro-poor growth characterized by greater investment in agriculture and higher overall employment intensity, as well as a better allocation of migrant remittances and stronger social policies.
Regional Monitoring of Child and Family Well-Being: UNICEF's MONEE Project
Regional Monitoring of Child and Family Well-Being: UNICEF's MONEE Project

AUTHOR(S)
Gaspar Fajth

Published: 2000 Innocenti Working Papers
The project, through a series of reports on child and family well-being, has had a remarkable impact on policy makers, academics, politicians and members of the public. One of the keys to its success has been the comprehensive set of demographic and social indicators and related policy and institutional information collected via a wide network of experts. By drawing a comparison with similar analytical efforts, this paper highlights the distinctive features of the project, including a holistic and regional perspective based on a systematic mix of statistical and analytical investigations. This approach offers some comparative advantages relative to UNICEF's global surveys and national situation analyses in terms of its capacity to grasp key patterns of change and the role of institutional factors.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 42 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: child welfare, demographic indicators, economic transition, family policy, family welfare, social indicators | Publisher: Innocenti Research Centre
Economic Reforms and Family Well-being in Belarus: Caught between legacies and prospects
Economic Reforms and Family Well-being in Belarus: Caught between legacies and prospects
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 50 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: economic reform, economic transition, family policy, family welfare | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Family Support Policies in Transitional Economies: Challenges and constraints
Family Support Policies in Transitional Economies: Challenges and constraints

AUTHOR(S)
Gaspar Fajth

The propagandists of ancien regime Russia and Eastern Europe portrayed state family support policies as models of care and efficiency. The collapse of communism revealed that this was a much distorted picture of the reality. But the positive work of these schemes should not be forgotten. Help available from the state did indeed do much to offset the financial strain that child-rearing inevitably imposes upon poorer families. This paper looks at how such policies have fared in nine of the countries that have undergone the transition to the free-market economy. It asks whether such positives as did exist prior to 1989 have survived to benefit the children of today. It concludes with a discussion of what can be done to improve matters for families of the region, arguing for an approach that would utilise the already existent infrastructure of care that remains as a relic of the old regimes.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 72 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: child poverty, economic transition, family policy, family welfare | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Government Expenditures for Children and their Families in Advanced Industrialized Countries, 1960-85
Government Expenditures for Children and their Families in Advanced Industrialized Countries, 1960-85
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 64 | Thematic area: Industrialized Countries | Tags: family policy, industrialized countries, public expenditures, social policy | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
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Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic
Publication Publication

Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Italy was the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown. Children and their families lived in nearly complete isolation for almost two months. Students missed 65 days of school compared to an average of 27 missed days among high-income countries worldwide. This prolonged break is of concern, as even short breaks in schooling can cause significant loss of learning for children and lead to educational inequalities over time. At least 3 million Italian students may not have been reached by remote learning due to a lack of internet connectivity or devices at home. This report explores children’s and parents’ experiences of remote learning during the lockdown in Italy, drawing on data collected from 11 European countries (and coordinated by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center). It explores how children's access and use of digital technologies changed during the pandemic; highlights how existing inequalities might undermine remote learning opportunities, even among those with internet access; and provides insights on how to support children’s remote learning in the future. *** L'Italia e’ stata il primo paese in Europa ad aver applicato la misura del lockdown su tutto il territorio. I bambini e le loro famiglie hanno vissuto in quasi completo isolamento per circa due mesi. Gli studenti hanno perduto 65 giorni di scuola rispetto ad una media di 27 negli altri paesi ad alto reddito del mondo. Questa interruzione prolungata rappresenta motivo di preoccupazione, in quanto persino interruzioni piu’ brevi nella didattica possono causare significative perdite nel livello di istruzione dei ragazzi e portare col tempo a diseguaglianze educative. Almeno 3 milioni di studenti in Italia non sono stati coinvolti nella didattica a distanza a causa d una mancanza di connessione ad internet o di dispositivi adeguati a casa. Questo rapporto analizza l’esperienza della didattica a distanza di ragazzi e genitori in Italia durante il lockdown, sulla base dei dati raccolti in 11 paesi europei (e coordinati dal Centro comune di ricerca della Commissione Europea). Studia il cambiamento nell’accesso e nell’uso delle tecnologie digitali dei bambini e ragazzi durante la pandemia; mette in evidenza come le diseguaglianze esistenti possano diminuire le opportunità offerte dalla didattica a distanza, anche tra coloro che hanno accesso ad internet; e fornisce approfondimenti su come sostenere la didattica a distanza di bambini e ragazzi in futuro.
Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa
Publication Publication

Time to Teach: Teacher attendance and time on task in Eastern and Southern Africa

There is a learning crisis. Fifty-three per cent of children in low- and middle-income countries are in ‘learning poverty’, i.e. they cannot read and understand a simple text by the end of primary school age. In sub- Saharan Africa, the learning poverty rate is 87 per cent overall, and ranges from 40 per cent to as high as 99 per cent in the 21 countries with available data. Teachers attending lessons and spending quality time on task is a critical prerequisite to learning. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, teacher absenteeism ranges from 15 to 45 per cent. Teacher absenteeism and reduced time on task wastes valuable financial resources, short-changes students and is one of the most cumbersome obstacles on the path toward the education Sustainable Development Goal and to the related vision of the new UNICEF education strategy: Every Child Learns. Whilst the stark numbers are available to study, and despite teacher absenteeism being a foremost challenge for education systems in Africa, the evidence base on how policies and practices can influence teacher attendance remains scant. Time to Teach (TTT) is a research initiative that looks at primary school teacher attendance in eight countries and territories in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region: the Comoros; Kenya; Rwanda, Puntland, State of Somalia; South Sudan; the United Republic of Tanzania, mainland; the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar; and Uganda. Its primary objective is to identify factors affecting the various forms of teacher attendance, which include being at school, being punctual, being in the classroom, and teaching when in the classroom, and use this evidence to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies.

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