Pandemic Pain Points Coloradans with Children Struggle with Depression, Hunger, Lack of Health Insurance, and Face Risk of Foreclosure or Eviction

New Annie E. Casey Foundation report reveals pandemic pain points for American families

Contact: Beza Taddess
Title: Communication Director
Phone: 7204223906
Email: beza@coloradokids.org

Pandemic Pain Points Coloradans with Children Struggle with Depression, Hunger, Lack of Health Insurance, and Face Risk of Foreclosure or Eviction

New Annie E. Casey Foundation report reveals pandemic pain points for American families

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE AT

12/14/20 8:00 am ET

DENVER, COLORADO — Colorado families are struggling to meet the needs of children during the COVID-19 pandemic while also managing finances, school, work and mental health, according to a new policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a decades-long advocate for young people in America. Kids, Families and COVID-19: Pandemic Pain Points and the Urgent Need to Respond shows in detail how children and families are suffering from the unprecedented social disruptions and economic storm set off by the global health 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.

Although Colorado respondents with children fared better than the national percentages across the indicators examined in the report, Colorado data still paint a picture of families who are struggling to put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads and obtain important health care services, all while maintaining their mental health.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, too many Colorado kids experienced hardships like poverty, food insecurity and housing instability,” said Kelly Causey, President and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, Colorado’s member of the KIDS COUNT network. “The data in this report make it clear that the pandemic has exacerbated these challenges for so many families across our state, and they point to an urgent need for action from our state and federal leaders to ensure children aren’t feeling the effects of the pandemic for years to come.”

In assessing food security, the ability to make rent or mortgage payments, health insurance status and mental health concerns, the Foundation identified four pain points for children and families that require both immediate action for relief and bold, long-term thinking for recovery. Key findings for Colorado include:

  • 8% of Colorado respondents with children said they lacked food security prior to the pandemic; in the most recent week of the pandemic, 11% reported there was sometimes or always not enough to eat in their household.
  • Nearly one in eight Colorado respondents with children living in the household (12%) said they had only slight confidence or no confidence at all that they would be able to make their next rent or mortgage payment on time.
  • Approximately 7% of Colorado respondents with children reported that they lack health insurance. Being uninsured can have serious consequences for families at any time, and being without health coverage during a public health crisis is even more dangerous. In addition, one third of people with children in the household in Colorado (33%) reported that they had delayed getting medical care in the previous month.
  • Nearly one in five Colorado respondents with children (19%) reported that they had felt down, depressed or hopeless in the previous week, indicating a widespread need for access to mental health care.

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 Affordable Care Act. 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.

“As we gear up for the 2021 Legislative Session, we must work to ensure kids and families have access to health coverage, quality and affordable child care and safe and secure housing,” added Causey. “Our kids and families need relief now. Governor Polis and the legislature have shown great leadership in taking action to mitigate the effects of the crisis during the Special Legislative Session in recent weeks, but we must sustain that effort with help from Congress in the new year.”

Release Information

The 2020 KIDS COUNT report will be available December 14 at 12:01 a.m. EDT at www.aecf.org. 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.

 

 

 

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About Colorado Children's Campaign


About Colorado Children’s Campaign

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child well-being in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research and organizing an extensive statewide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.

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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.

 

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Beza Taddess at 7204223906 or email Beza at beza@coloradokids.org.