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Study shows that 40,000 children need support after losing their parents to COVID-19



As life begins to return to normal for many children returning to school this month, a new study shows that about 40,000 children in the United States are dealing with deep grief after losing a parent to COVID-19. They are now known as “COVID orphans” and there is a new focus on how to help them, both immediately and with long-term support. The researchers leading the study published an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics (JAMA Pediatrics) this week. Their modeling looked at COVID-19 deaths from February 2020 to February 2021. They found as many as about 43,000 children lost at least one parent to COVID-1

9. According to the study, older children are particularly affected. Researchers found about 11,000 of those who lost parents are under the age of 10, and about 32,000 are aged 10 and older. African American children are disproportionately affected. They make up 14% of the children in our country, but 20% of those who have lost a parent due to the virus. Remember, this model did not track how many children lost both parents, and it does not include other primary caregivers such as grandparents who may also have been killed by COVID-19. The effects are obviously profound. The researchers behind this study say that children who experience the trauma of losing a parent are at greater risk of depression, poor educational outcomes and accidental death or suicide. People working with vulnerable children point out that these losses come on top of all the other difficulties of the pandemic, including parents losing jobs and children falling behind in school when their campuses close. The founder of Voice of the Youth, Inc., Berry Accius, warns that the effects on these children can last for decades, and the layers of pandemic damage may end up being harder to treat than the virus itself. Accius hopes these concerns will lead to large investments in community centers and other services that can wrap these children in long-term support. “We have to keep making sure these kids are okay,” Accius explained. “We can not just say, ‘Here is two years. Here is a two-year block.’ If that child needs forever and one day, we have to appreciate forever and one day, for how can do you manage to lose a parent when you have lost everything else? And let’s be very clear, many of these children never had anything but their parents and their family members. “The authors of the study call for the creation of a national group for infant death or “cohort” that can identify children who have lost parents, monitor them for signs indicating that they need help, and provide that care as soon as possible. Early intervention is often critical, and Accius said what these children need most is “a lot of love, a lot of support, a lot of understanding.” For more resources to help children tackle grief, click here.

As life begins to return to normal for many children returning to school this month, a new study shows that about 40,000 children in the United States are dealing with deep grief after losing a parent to COVID-19.

They are now known as “COVID orphans”, and there is a new focus on how to help them, both immediately and with long-term support.

The researchers leading the study published an article this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics (JAMA Pediatrics). Their modeling looked at COVID-19 deaths from February 2020 to February 2021. They found as many as about 43,000 children lost at least one parent to COVID-19.

According to the study, older children are particularly affected. Researchers found that about 11,000 of those who lost parents are under the age of 10, and about 32,000 are between the ages of 10 and older.

African American children are disproportionately affected. They make up 14% of the children in our country, but 20% of those who have lost a parent due to the virus.

Remember, this model did not track how many children lost both parents, and it does not include other primary caregivers such as grandparents who may also have been killed by COVID-19.

The effects are obviously profound. The researchers behind this study say that children who experience the trauma of losing a parent are at greater risk of depression, poor educational outcomes and accidental death or suicide.

People working with vulnerable children point out that these losses come on top of all the other difficulties of the pandemic, including parents losing jobs and children falling behind in school when their campuses close.

The founder of Voice of the Youth, Inc., Berry Accius, warns that the effects on these children can last for decades, and the layers of pandemic damage may end up being harder to treat than the virus itself. Accius hopes these concerns will lead to large investments in community centers and other services that can wrap these children in long-term support.

“We have to keep making sure these kids are okay,” Accius explained. “We can not just say, ‘Here is two years. Here is a two-year block.’ If that child needs forever and one day, we have to appreciate forever and one day, for how can “Do you manage to lose a parent when you have lost everything else? And let’s be very clear, many of these children never had anything but their parents and their family members.”

The authors of the study call for the creation of a national group for infant deaths or “cohorts” that can identify children who have lost parents, monitor them for signs indicating that they need help and provide that care as soon as possible. .

Early intervention is often critical, and Accius said what these children need most is “a lot of love, a lot of support, a lot of understanding.”

For more resources to help children tackle grief, click here.


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