A new report shows that all 13.5 million California children are suffering as a result of the pandemic.
It gives the state low marks for child care, foster care, mental health support and preventive health screenings. The new 2022 California Children’s Report Card from the nonprofit Children Now showed that children of color, in particular, are susceptible to absorbing toxic levels of stress.
Harold Goldstein, executive director of Public Health Advocates, a statewide research and advocacy organization, noted that the suicide rate among teens of color has increased following police killings, worsening poverty and separation from friends during COVID.
“The suicide rate among black youth has doubled in the past six years and continues on a very disturbing upward trajectory.”
According to the report, only about one in four infants with Medi-Cal coverage received a checkup in 2019. And doctor visits for children have dropped significantly during the pandemic.
On the plus side, California gets “A” grades for covering children with health insurance regardless of immigration status, and for providing record funding for transitional kindergarten for all four-year-olds. .
However, Goldstein added, the state gets low marks due to a lack of affordable child care and low pay rates for caregivers.
“If qualified, quality child care is not available for young children, they can be harmed and it will affect them for the rest of their lives,” Goldstein said.
The report’s authors also concluded that California needs to do more to find stable homes for adoptive children, with nearly 40 percent being placed in three or more homes over a two-year period.
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