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“Very Not OK”

Struggling Parents & Caregivers Get Vital Support from CCFH during the Pandemic

Every child has the right to be loved, nurtured, and safe.

This is the vision that precedes and motivates CCFH’s mission statement, ensuring that everything we do as an organization is wholly focused on the health and well-being of each child in our care and in the communities we serve.

So, when the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began to escalate in March, our most pressing concern was the impact it would have on children. What would more uncertainty and anxiety mean for children already suffering from traumatic stress? How would increased isolation worsen risk factors for those living in vulnerable or unsafe circumstances? What kind of impact might this unprecedented societal crisis have on the mental health and social-emotional health of all children?

Over the last eight months, we have cared for hundreds of families, and, while these questions about the pandemic’s effect on children persist, many of our clinical and community-based staff now say that their most pressing concern is the toll the pandemic is taking on parents.

In September, NPR published a report on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on U.S. households with children, drawn from a survey conducted in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Across all demographics, the survey found that strikingly large percentages of families were struggling with finances, employment, healthcare, housing, transportation, childcare, and general well-being. In many of these categories, those reporting serious problems were a significant majority of respondents.

The headline of NPR’s feature story on the report summarized the findings bluntly: “Parents Are ‘Very Not OK’ in the Pandemic.” A psychologist interviewed for the story was equally blunt in describing the impact of these problems on parents, saying,

“Parents are stressed. They’re short tempered, irritable, frustrated, potentially resorting to kind of harsh disciplinary strategies. They’re going to be distracted and tired.”

That description rings true to our therapists, social workers, and nurses. Even though they are caring for families at a distance via telehealth, they are seeing firsthand the struggles and stresses depicted in the survey findings along with the effects on emotional, mental, and physical health. They are concerned for the well-being of parents and caregivers, and they know very well the impact these things may be having on the safety, health, and development of children.¹

Care and support for parents and caregivers has always been integral to CCFH’s work and mission. For children in treatment in the Urbaniak Clinic, parents and caregivers provide continuity between sessions and create a home environment that supports healing long after the treatment plan is complete. The essence of our prevention programs is helping ensure every parent is equipped – mentally, emotionally, financially – to create a safe, healthy, and nurturing home. So, given the extraordinary stress so many are experiencing right now, we believe it is more important than ever to put the well-being and resilience of parents and caregivers front and center.

Learn about the particular challenges parents are facing and how CCFH’s support is helping them survive this difficult time:

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Posted on December 8, 2020