Child Health

Amid COVID-19, We Must Protect Our Most Vulnerable Children From Lasting Harm

April 16, 2020 | National

As the scope and scale of the devastation from COVID-19 continues to grow, it has become clear that certain particularly vulnerable children are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis – including poor children, children of color, children in the foster care system, and children in mixed immigration status families. The children most deeply impacted by COVID-19 need support to ensure this temporary crisis doesn’t cause long-lasting harm to their health and wellbeing.

However, those disproportionately impacted by this crisis were either completely left out of the previous relief packages or have additional, critical needs that must be addressed in Congress’ next response to the COVID-19 crisis. We cannot allow this crisis to continue to exacerbate existing disparities, hit our most vulnerable children the hardest, and cause lasting harm.

Today, we sent a letter to every U.S. Senator and Representative urging them to include in the next COVID-19 relief package a comprehensive set of policies that will help protect our most vulnerable children and families.

CDF urges Congress to:

  • Increase direct cash assistance and financial support for low-income families to help improve children’s well-being and reduce poverty and inequality during this unprecedented time;
  • Make additional investments in critical programs that ensure needy children and families can access the nutritious food they need to survive;
  • Take action and increase funding to ensure that children can access safe, stable housing and avoid the threat of homelessness during this crisis;
  • Expand child welfare funding to help states meet the needs of the child welfare system;
  • Ensure access to comprehensive, affordable health coverage and care;
  • Provide additional, significant, and dedicate funding for child care to offer immediate relief to the sector;
  • Ensure adequate support for K-12 schools to support students and families as unprecedented need for instruction and other services is now virtual;
  • Expand paid sick days and paid family and medical leave benefits and unemployment insurance to ensure they reach all workers for the duration of this crisis; and
  • Ensure relief and access to services for all families – regardless of immigration status.

The unique and urgent needs of children must be a priority in Congress’ ongoing efforts to support the American people through this pandemic.

Read our full letter to Congress here.