Data Reveals Unprecedented Trauma for Many Families Due to the Widespread Effects of the Coronavirus
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Hoosier households performed well on (insert topic above), but is falling short on steady employment through pandemic, heightening racial disparities, according to Kids, Families and COVID-19: Pandemic Pain Points and a Roadmap for Recovery, a 50-state report of recent household data developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation analyzing how families are faring during the COVID-19 crisis.
This KIDS COUNT report examined data from weekly surveys conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that demonstrate how families across the country are challenged to meet basic needs during this global public health crisis while managing school, work and mental health. The Foundation finds that the concurrent health and economic crises are exacerbating trends that show vulnerable families are unable to fulfill basic needs.
According to the report, around 50 percent of Hoosier adults living in households with children have lost employment income during the pandemic. More recently Hispanic households with children (58%) have lost income during this time as compared to the state average of 50% of families experiencing financial loss. Additionally, 51% of Black families and 49% of White families have experienced lost income.
“With the unpreceded struggles Hoosier homes are facing due to COVID-19, we must work together to improve the conditions that foster the success of all children and work to understand the significant disparities that exist” said Tami Silverman, president and CEO of Indiana Youth Institute.
The report shows how urgent state and federal intervention is to the health and well-being of families with children.
By measuring food security, the ability to make rent or mortgage payments, health insurance status, and mental health concerns, the Casey Foundation identified four pain points for children and families that require immediate action. Percentages of Hoosier families with children who have experienced challenges as measured by these four indicators are listed below:
- FOOD SECURITY: Sixteen percent of households said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat.
- HOUSING STABILITY: Nineteen percent of households had slight or no confidence they would make the next rent or mortgage payment on time.
- AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE: Eleven percent of households did not have health insurance.
- MENTAL HEALTH: Twenty percent of households felt down, depressed or hopeless.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation urges policymakers and child advocates to unite across differences and put COVID-19 response at the top of 2021 agendas to ensure that children have what they need to survive and thrive. The Foundation calls on elected officials and other decision makers to:
- Put racial and ethnic equity first in policymaking by using disaggregated data and engaging community stakeholders. This should ensure that the policymaking process is informed by the diverse perspectives of those hardest hit by the crisis and created in partnership with communities. This approach should underpin any concrete policy actions.
- Prioritize the physical and mental health of all children by guaranteeing that any vaccine will be available without cost as a factor and by retaining and strengthening the access to health insurance. To promote mental health, particularly in times of crisis, policymakers should work to reduce the student-to-school-counselor ratio in all school settings to levels recommended by mental health professionals.
- Help families with children achieve financial stability and bolster their well-being by expanding access to unemployment insurance for part-time and gig economy workers, low-wage workers and students and by expanding child care access. Additionally, policymakers should eliminate barriers to accessing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). And beyond any temporary housing assistance programs aimed at heading off a foreclosure or eviction crisis, federal policymakers should expand the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, and increase the overall availability of public housing.
- Ensure schools are better funded, more equitably funded and ready to meet the needs of students disparately affected by the pandemic by boosting school funding to protect against the economic impact of the pandemic, build maintenance-of-equity requirements into relief packages and address disparities in technology access at home and in the classroom.
To read the full report, click here.
Additional information is available at www.aecf.org. Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about the Kids Count report can use the KIDS COUNT Data Center at datacenter.kidscount.org.
About the Indiana Youth Institute :
For three decades, the Indiana Youth Institute has supported the youth services field through innovative trainings’, critical data, and capacity-building resources, aiming every effort at increasing the well-being of all children. To learn more about the Indiana Youth Institute, visit www.iyi.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter
About the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.