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Parents Struggling to Provide for Families During Pandemic

Hardships greatest for low-income, Hispanic, and black parents

WEDNESDAY, May 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The COVID-19 pandemic poses risks to children's health, well-being, and development as parents struggle to provide for their families, according to a survey released by the Urban Institute.

The Urban Institute's Health Reform Monitoring Survey was conducted between March 25 and April 10, 2020. The analysis included responses from 9,032 adults (aged 18 to 64 years).

The researchers found that more than four in 10 (43.3 percent) parents living with children younger than 19 years reported that they or a family member lost a job, work hours, and/or work-related income because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Rates were higher among Hispanic (62.2 percent) and black parents (49.7 percent) versus non-Hispanic white parents (36.5 percent). Due to the outbreak, one-third of families reported the need for someone in the family to stay home from work to care for children, and 16.5 percent reported difficulty arranging child care. Lower-income parents and Hispanic parents reported being less likely to work from home versus higher-income parents and non-Hispanic white parents. Due to the pandemic, nearly one-third (31 percent) of parents reported their family had cut back spending on food, and three in 10 reported that their family had reduced savings or increased credit card debt. One-third of parents (33.8 percent) reported food insecurity and/or problems paying for housing, utilities, or medical costs in the previous month, but this was higher among lower-income parents (52.5 percent), Hispanic parents (51.7 percent), and non-Hispanic black parents (48.2 percent).

"Ensuring children's home environments remain as stable as possible and that their educational, nutritional, physical, and mental health needs are met will be paramount to helping families and communities weather the current crisis and to minimizing adverse economic, health, and emotional effects on children," the authors write.

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