Research: Meals Insecurity And The Poverty Price Rose For Colorado Kids Throughout The Pandemic

Referrals to early intervention services that help toddlers from birth to the age of 3 with development skills such as speech therapy also fell dramatically in the first few weeks of the pandemic, falling by 63 percent in the first two weeks of March 2020.

That’s because GPs, who make about a third of all referrals for such support, stopped doing child welfare screenings at the start of the pandemic.

Providers aim to provide children with early intervention services in their “natural environment,” whether at home or in childcare – with the aim of making them function at the same level as their peers, said Christy Scott, director of the early intervention program at the Office of Early childhood in Colorado. “And if we don’t get the early support we need, we can see the consequences when they go to preschool, special school or even kindergarten.”

Scott said there has been a surge in referrals lately and childcare advocates hope this trend will continue.

Household income fell and food insecurity increased

Almost half of households with children have reported a loss of earned income since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of March 2021, a third said they had difficulty paying normal household expenses.

During that time, approximately 10 percent of Colorado households with children said they had not had enough to eat in the previous week.

Black and Latino families suffered disproportionately and reported more food and rent insecurity – and more job losses – than white families.

“They got into the pandemic and faced higher rates of child poverty, a higher proportion of children without health insurance, limited access to quality childcare and K-12 education,” said Manoatl. “During the pandemic, they were hit (economically) harder than other households … it’s kind of an amplified effect.”

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