Risk factors for children during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Closure of schools and other services, death of caregivers and other family members, and the inability to visit wider family and friends can result in children losing their usual support networks and not being able to reach people they would usually be able to report violence to and ask for help keeping them safe
- Death, hospitalisation, illness, and lack of usual coping mechanisms may reduce protection offered by a child’s ‘primary’ caregiver resulting in possible temporary relinquishment and being sent to stay with other family members, placement in alternative care, or becoming a child headed household. Please refer to the Terminology Document in the ‘Downloads’ section on course step 3 for a further explanation about ‘primary’ caregivers.
- Loss or restricted access to services and support for children in vulnerable situations such as those in street situations and children in alternative care – especially if separated or unaccompanied. Current circumstances may be putting them at higher risk of abuse, exploitation, arrest and detention, unsafe returns to their original homes, and preventing access to essential services
- Loss or restricted access to services and support for asylum-seeking children and refugee, stateless, migrant, and internally displaced (IDP) children. For the rest of the course we will refer to these children as ‘displaced’ children. It is important to please look at the Step 4 Definitions Document found in the ‘Downloads’ section at the bottom of the page, where you will find further information about the terminology we have used for these children.
- Lack of access to livelihoods and other basic needs can increase risks of child marriage and child labour
- Increased psychosocial stress due to experiencing death or illness of parents, family members and other caregivers, friends, isolation, and stigma and discrimination of those infected, or thought to be infected with, COVID-19. Home schooling and other issues adding to the role and stress of caregivers during the pandemic can also impact on the protection and care of children
- Limited operation of national social protection and legal systems can interrupt any usual formal child protection decision-making processes and how to determine the best interests of a child when required
- Health services and disease control measures may not consider the gender-specific needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls which may in turn increase risks to their protection.
COVID-19: Adapting Child Protection Case Management
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