Press Release

Contact: Michele Kayal
Phone: 703-919-8778

Children hit hard by COVID-19 fallout

Advocate Demands Congress Protect Kids

COVID-19 may not be killing children in the same numbers as adults, but the virus that has locked down the world is having a grave and long-lasting impact on children.

“People have been saying, ‘Oh, coronavirus doesn’t affect kids — the kids are alright,” First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley recently told The New York Times. “They’re so not. They’re at greater risk of sexual assault, suicide, substance abuse, hunger — every aspect of children’s lives is being impacted.”

Lesley and his policy team at First Focus Campaign for Children today called on Congress to safeguard the physical, emotional, financial and developmental health and well-being of our nation’s 74 million children in the following areas:

  • Health: Increase support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid, which together provide health insurance for nearly 40 million children. As families experience record unemployment, these programs are more necessary than ever.
  • Child Care: Help providers continue operating and support critical child care and home visiting programs.
  • Child Poverty: Enact numerous pieces of legislation on child poverty that have already been introduced and further the recommendations of the 2019 National Academy of Sciences study, A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty. Nearly 2 million children slipped into poverty during the Great Recession. Forecasters are predicting worse outcomes from COVID-19.
  • Child Hunger: Build on the nutrition assistance provided in previous packages to ensure that families with children can put food on the table.
  • Child and Youth Homelessness: Take immediate steps to aid children and youth already experiencing homelessness and prevent more from joining their ranks. The Department of Education identified 1.5 million homeless students in the 2017-2018 school year, a 10% increase over the previous year. As unemployment climbs, so will those numbers.
  • Immigration: Prioritize the well-being of all children regardless of immigration status. Children of immigrants are the fastest-growing group of American children, with 1 in 4 children (18 million) living with at least one immigrant parent. Many of these children, including citizen children, were excluded from previous aid packages.
  • Child Welfare: Strengthen supports that are critical for the children, youth, and families that receive services from state child welfare agencies. COVID-19 has caused increases in known risk factors for child abuse and neglect: social isolation, parental stress, and economic strain.
  • Education: Ensure that emergency resources allocated for education reach all students equally and provide all students with the ability to continue learning during this crisis.

Find the complete and specific package of legislative proposals at this link.