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Description: How does Covid-19 effect children? Wait! Before you answer, set aside the fact that children are less likely to experience serious negative symptoms should they contract the Covid-19 virus. Think of children at the population level (as a group or groups). Now, how does or might the Covid-19 pandemic as a while effect children? In addition, consider that children are not simply a voting block of short people (they cannot vote and most will be taller before very long), they are a group that is particularly vulnerable to effects of largescale events like Covid-19 by virtue of the fact that they are engaged in rapidly emerging developmental processes that are laying the foundations for their own later development and for their very future lives. SO, now, how does Covid-19 effect children and low SES (poor) children in particular? The number of children living in poverty today is significantly higher than it was just 6 months ago in Canada and especially in the United States and while the situation may get better over the next 12 to 24 months that period of time is huge when considered from the perspective of the development of young children. What should we do? Well, the complexity of the relationship between poor developmental outcomes and poverty could cause you to believe that even a hypothetical answer this that question is beyond you and I would agree if we want a full account of all of the poverty linked forces and factors that could influence child development (even without considering parental Covid-19 related stress and anxieties). However, what if we threw some money at the problem? Sounds too simple? Sounds like something that would simply amplify to individual, family and social problems that lead families into poverty in the first place? Well, keep an open mind for a few minutes and read the article linked below that looks at this simpler option with the benefit of quite a bit of research data.

Source: The Coronavirus Generation, Jason DeParle, New Analysis, The New York Times.

Date: August 22, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by sippakorn yamkasikorn from Pixabay

Article Link:

Canada has provided child allowances to low SES families for a while now (pre-Covid) resulting in significant reductions in the number of children growing and developing in poverty. American programs such as Food Stamps have addressed core consequences of living in poverty for many children and the fact that such programs have been administered locally has provided much evidence (as did research on the local impacts of Casino benefits to Indigenous children) of the positive impacts of such direct anti-poverty interventions. There has not been much discussion of the impacts of Covid-19 on young developing children beyond potential direct health effects. Perhaps we should consider that today’s young children are tomorrow’ adult citizens (and voters) as we consider short and longer-term economic aid initiatives related to the current pandemic.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some ways in which Social Economic Status (SES) impacts development?
  2. When we talk about the impact of Covid-19 on families what should we consider in particular when we think about the situations of low SES families?
  3. What are some of the potential implications of (Covid-19) back to school initiatives for low as opposed to mid to high SES children and families?

References (Read Further):

Akee, R. K., Copeland, W. E., Keeler, G., Angold, A., & Costello, E. J. (2010). Parents’ incomes and children’s outcomes: a quasi-experiment using transfer payments from casino profits. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2(1), 86-115. Link

Costello, E. J., Copeland, W., & Angold, A. (2016). The Great Smoky Mountains study: developmental epidemiology in the southeastern United States. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 51(5), 639-646. Link

Duncan, G. J., Magnuson, K., & Votruba-Drzal, E. (2014). Boosting family income to promote child development. The Future of Children, 99-120. Link

Yoshikawa, H., Aber, J. L., & Beardslee, W. R. (2012). The effects of poverty on the mental, emotional, and behavioral health of children and youth: implications for prevention. American Psychologist, 67(4), 272. Link

Cooper, K., & Stewart, K. (2017). Does money affect children’s outcomes? An update. CASEpapers (203). Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK Link

Le Menestrel, S., & Duncan, G. (2019). A roadmap to reducing child poverty. National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine Link

Schwandt, H., & Von Wachter, T. (2019). Unlucky cohorts: Estimating the long-term effects of entering the labor market in a recession in large cross-sectional data sets. Journal of Labor Economics, 37(S1), S161-S198. Link

Guldi, M., Hawkins, A., Hemmeter, J., & Schmidt, L. (2018). Supplemental Security Income and child outcomes: Evidence from birth weight eligibility cutoffs (No. w24913). National Bureau of Economic Research. Link

Hoynes, H., Schanzenbach, D. W., & Almond, D. (2016). Long-run impacts of childhood access to the safety net. American Economic Review, 106(4), 903-34. Link