What COVID-19 means for America’s Child Welfare System

By Ron Haskins and Morgan Welch of the Brookings Institution.

The COVID-19 crisis has allowed a revealing look into the shortcomings of the U.S.’s child welfare system. While no institution has proved strong enough to operate effectively and efficiently under the unprecedented circumstances brought on by COVID-19, the crisis has unveiled holes in the child welfare system that call for both immediate and long-term action. COVID-19 has created a perfect storm of factors that will almost certainly lead to a sharp increase in unreported cases of child abuse and neglect, as children are cut off from interactions with professionals and teachers, confined at home with caregivers and relatives, and families are feeling the stress of job loss and economic uncertainty.

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