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Blog Series: COVID-19 Response – Intro

COVID-19 blog series: Pediatric Health | Housing | Pregnancy | Talking to Kids about coronavirus | Applying for Round Two of PPP | Activities to do with your kids | Stay-at-home Families Navigating through Coronavirus | Families Struggling with Food Insecurity & Meal Provisions | Nature Suggestions to Get Through Pandemic | Montessori Practical Life Activities | Child Welfare in Jeopardy | Resources for Child Care Provider Concerns | COVID-19’s Impact on Child Care in Rural Counties | A Child’s Haven Prepares a Strengths-Based Reopening

Last week, ICS published a letter to our supporters on Facing the Challenges of COVID-19 Together. Our goal was to quickly reach out to our supporters, our partners, and those who use our work to assure them we continue to work towards success for all children even in current uncertain times and to identify possible ways our organizations can help.

One thing that has become clear over the last few weeks: the COVID-19 crisis is, unfortunately, going to be a marathon and not a sprint. On March 26, news outlets reported that the United States had taken on an unfortunate global position as Number 1 – having the most cases of any country. Governments at all levels continue to urge smart practices like “social distancing” – staying home for all but essential needs, and keeping 6 feet between all other people while out of the house – in an effort to “flatten the curve” and reduce strain on the health care system. Experts predict that cases will continue to increase for some time – and even if they did not, the impact this crisis has had on our country, on our communities, and our families is permanent.

One pillar of ICS’s mission is “sharing knowledge, convening stakeholders, embracing solutions, and accelerating impact.” Our goal with these blogs is not to provide urgent news updates or analysis on individual government response policies. Rather, we will shift our usual lens to the specific needs of this crisis, focusing on systems-level needs, considerations, and opportunities which impact families with young children.

We will highlight recommendations from experts, cross-system considerations, and opportunities to learn from other communities on health, education, child care, child welfare, pregnancy, and more. While adjusting to the realities of our new world may feel like “building the plane while flying it,” the fact is that researchers, policymakers, and providers have decades of experience and literature that can help us chart a research-informed course in the coming weeks and months. ICS knows we do not have all the answers, and we welcome discussion on our social media channels of the areas your community, agency, or family may be experiencing and solutions you are seeing.

This situation is rapidly changing as cases develop, and so too is the government response at the federal, state, and local levels. Rather than trying to stay on top of the specifics of how each state is adding their own early childhood issues, our goal here is information sharing, linking to quality resources you can use.

For those who are interested in the specifics of federal and state efforts, we recommend these resources. Note that these are not endorsements of specific policy positions but rather quick links to information on individual state efforts:

  • The Alliance for Early Success maintains a database of actions taken by all 50 states related to early childhood care, education, and home visiting in response to this crisis.
  • The Hunt Institute maintains a page highlighting state actions in response to the pandemic related to child care; K-12 education; and higher education.
  • The National Conference of State Legislatures has a broader issue tracker, which includes all state legislation in response to the COVID-19 crisis, including financial interventions, support for medical personnel, housing legislation, and more – all of which directly or indirectly impacts families with young children.
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