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Report Highlights Pain Points for Michigan Kids During Pandemic


New data reveals what many policy experts have feared for months – the pandemic has taken a serious toll on the well-being of Michigan's children.

Using data from weekly U-S census surveys, a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that in Michigan, 15 percent of parents are struggling to put food on the table and 15 percent don't know if they'll be able to pay the rent or mortgage next month.

Kelsey Perdue is the Kids Count Project Director at the Michigan League for Public Policy. She explains some families have lost jobs or income, or health-care coverage.

"Parents in households with children, 7% of them reported not being insured. And so in the midst of a health and economic crisis, it's a clear call to action to make sure that all children can be covered in our state."

The report shows the pandemic has exacerbated racial and ethnic inequities, with Black, Latino and native communities hit hardest by the crisis.   Perdue explains the pandemic also has had a negative impact on social-emotional health.

"Over a third of Michigan households with children reported feelings of anxiety, About 20% said that they felt down, depressed or hopeless, and so mental-health concerns are going to be really, really important to address."

Leslie Boissiere with the Casey Foundation contends bold action is needed to ensure that children emerge from the pandemic healthy and safe.

"We have to get back to the basics. We have to make sure that the poorest and most fragile families are taken care of and that we're funding those programs that can have an impact and make sure that everybody's basic needs are met in this country."

The report offers several suggestions including guaranteeing that any COVID-19 vaccine be available without cost; improving access to programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; and boosting investments in education and ensuring schools are more equitably funded.

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