In a few short weeks, the COVID-19 virus has dramatically changed the lives of children and families. Parents are losing jobs, schools and early care and education programs are closed, and the social and community supports many of us rely on are sidelined. At the same time, our public systems, institutions, and programs are racing to adapt—to figure out how to fulfill their missions in ways that keep both their own staff and the families they serve safe and healthy.

Many of these public systems and community-based programs serve children who are rarely in the public eye, yet their well-being depends in significant ways on public policies and public agencies at all levels of government. As our nation grapples with these unexpected and overwhelming challenges, my colleagues and I urge policymakers and the public to prioritize the children and families noted here, who face unique obstacles during this crisis; and to recall that, for those in low-income families, there is the additional threat of devastating financial consequences.

At Child Trends, we’ve recently released materials that provide research-based guidance and new data to inform decisions about how best to meet the needs of all children and their families in the midst of COVID-19—and we’ll continue to release more in the weeks and months to come.

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