Effect of Covid-19 on Children and Families Assignment Sample

Learn how the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbates health disparities in the UK's impoverished communities and solutions for improvement.

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Introduction Of Effect of Covid-19 on Children and Families

Effect of Covid-19 on Children and Families Living in Poverty within the UK Assignment

The key aim of this essay is to present a critical examination of policy responses to the UK health and family welfare department during Covid-19 pandemic towards children and families who are living with poverty. In this respect, the thesis paper keeps its attention on the effects of the global epidemic of Covid-19 on economically underprivileged children and families in Britain. Apart from that, factors which have influenced this health inequality including policy measures taken by the government authority and legislation have been highlighted. Health inequalities refer to the gap or difference in health status and the gap in distribution of health determinants among different demographic sections (Banerjee, 2021). Moreover, this essay is highlighting how the Covid-19 pandemic made negative consequences on the distribution and health determinants which is inequitable in nature because of poverty. Special initiatives that provide support to vulnerable children and their families during this period have also been mentioned to examine the effectiveness of such approaches. Finally, recommendations have been made in support of literary evidence for the improvement of the entire health and welfare practice within the chosen region.

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Discussion

The repercussions of COVID-19 have been catastrophic, especially harming children and families in poverty in the UK. Children who are living below the poverty line or within the poverty already struggle with a host of issues, such as limited opportunities for healthcare, educational chances, and wholesome food sources (Whitehead, 2021). Socio-economic challenges were made significantly more critical to surmount by the sudden outbreak of the pandemic, which also had a long-lasting impact on their general health, educational opportunities, and well-being (Spinelli et al. 2020). As a result of the pandemic, more children are currently residing in hardship and lack access to enough sustenance. This is because a lot of families are struggling to make ends meet as a result of employment loss and other financial issues (Whitehead, 2021).

Poverty-stricken children struggle more due to limited access to educational opportunities and technological resources, which worsens their prospects and adds to the achievement gap widening (Bozkurt et al. 2022). However, the Covid-19 vaccination programme initiated by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization and CMOs provided initial health support to children who are between 5 to 17 years old and 93.6% of children aged 12 years received their first doses by the end of August 2022 (Rcpch.ac.uk, 2023). Contrarily, it has been discovered that children under the age of 5 should only receive vaccinations whenever they have a high risk of having an immune system that is weakened or if they have family members who have weakened immune systems (Nhs.uk, 2023). As a result, children who are from poor family backgrounds and just turned age 5 by September 2022 failed to receive first dosages of vaccination due to limited accessibility and it increased health insecurity among poor children during Covid-19 pandemic (Nhs.uk, 2023).

Recent media coverage has focused a lot on how kid poverty is expected to rise over the coming years. Even though Wales' child poverty level is reaching around 30% for a while, the “Institute for Fiscal Studies'' most recent projections indicates that by 2020, a startling 40% of the children living in Wales will continue to live economically weaker condition, undoing the gains made in recent decades (Bevanfoundation.org, 2020). According to the "Household Below Average Income" statistics, children who live in workless households, families with three kids or further, or families with one parent are more at risk than other groups. Additionally, children who reside in homes with people with disabilities or members of racial minorities are more vulnerable (Thomas et al. 2022).

The “Institute of Fiscal Studies” claims that the anticipated increases in child poverty result from alterations to the benefits system and get worse during the epidemic. They forecast that child poverty will soar within Britain. Specifically the region of Wales expected in experiencing some of the biggest increases, due to the implementation of the two-child restriction and less generous tax credits (Bevanfoundation.org, 2020). This indicates that health inequalities among poor sections of demography are influenced by ranges of social determinants and a collective set of conditions within which people live, work or grow up. However, besides the social determinants, economic, political and government policies are major factors that influence health inequalities within one nation (Who.int, 2023). According to Alfred Adler's theory, each individual has had a sense of inferiority since childhood and it acts as a motivating force towards human behavior (Bettner, 2020). In a word, social behavior of human beings is embedded socially and hence, the social restriction during poverty puts economically background families in social insecurity.

According to the report Wales will have more children living in poverty by 2020 than it did in 1996 if child poverty peaked (Bevanfoundation.org, 2020). Children whose family members are living on lower earnings will be most impacted by the changes because they are more likely to depend on assistance than wages for their income. Despite the Welsh Government cannot undo shifts to the welfare system, it can utilize its influence over those levers that can help people escape poverty to try to lessen the effect of these changes on children (Bevanfoundation.org, 2020). Though, the local government took initiative to improve the way of progression by ensuring healthy housing facilities, transportation opportunities along with affordable childcare facilities across the Walse region (Bevanfoundation.org, 2020). This particular situation might imply the day-to-day existence of those kids by reshaping social interest of day to day survival.

More to the context, it can be said that educational opportunities, housing facilities, financial status, social environment and the entire health system are major social determinants of health inequalities which degrade the quality of life especially, the children and families living in poverty within the UK. For example, research has demonstrated that residents of England's poorest regions pass away 7 years sooner than those of developed areas. (Lordslibrary.parliament.uk, 2021). Another report has highlighted that the Covid-19 pandemic created a recognisable gap between the life expectancy (LE) rate and Healthy Life Expectancy Rate (HLE) among Scotland-based children who are from economic background classes after the pandemic (Isdscotland.org, 2021). In this regard, the British Medical Journal criticized government interventions and the entire health responses towards the recovery of child public health from the Covid-19 pandemic (Isdscotland.org, 2021). The same report also mentioned that after the pandemic children safeguarding issues have escalated because of the increased domestic abuse risk. Evidence indicates that exposure to maltreatment can have significant long-term effects on a child's mental health, physical development, and mental well-being which is affecting how well they perform as adults (Sak?z, 2022). Moreover, the entire situation has a negative effect on individual psychology.

Moreover, the vulnerable situation is creating additional pressure on the mind and carrier of young people who belong to the underprivileged section. The authors demanded more funding so that healthcare catch-up programs could handle backlogs and more assistance for people who might be subject to domestic violence or other safety concerns (Crushell et al. 2020). In addition, they urged government agencies to completely take into account and involve kids and teens in potential policy responses, emphasizing. As a result, the government took initiative to provide mental health support to nearly 3 million children across England through a school-based mental health support team (Lordslibrary.parliament.uk, 2021). Besides, the government ensured that nearly 22500 young people and children can get better access to community mental health services to minimize the gap between LE and Healthy Life Expectancy index (Lordslibrary.parliament.uk, 2021).

Another study has highlighted that because of the epidemic, children who survive in poor conditions have experienced less opportunity for socialization, which has led to a rise in mental health issues (McKinlay et al. 2022). This similar study also highlighted that due to fewer chances for children to interact with their peers due to schools and other community centers closing, this age group had experienced increased feelings of loneliness and seclusion. Overall mental health condition of the chosen section has also been significantly impacted by the higher levels of stress and anxiety that parents experience as a direct result of financial hardships and employment loss (Singh et al. 2020). This entire situation led by the pandemic has caused the prevalence of mental illness in children to increase at a more severe level within the United Kingdom. Due to the closure of schools, decreased opportunities for ranges of school-based activities, and difficulty communicating with their classmates, children are now more likely to experience negative mental health outcomes. A study conducted by the UK parliament found that 75% of recent lockdowns caused by the previous wave of pandemic were harder to cope with as compared to previous ones which created a long-term negative impact on people's minds (Lordslibrary.parliament.uk, 2021).

Children living in poverty, who frequently lack the support systems and resources required to deal with the consequences of the epidemic, have found this situation to be especially difficult to manage as a direct result of the health emergency (Douglas et al. 2020). Hence, it is due to the fact that poor children frequently lack the means and support systems required to deal with the aftereffects of the global pandemic. Additionally, the pandemic heightened stress and uncertainty had a surprising effect on children's mental wellbeing and added to rising levels of anxiety and depression among these young people by 78% (Cowie and Myers, 2021). The general state of mental health among children has suffered. For instance, households in Great Britain with earnings in the lowest twenty percent of the distribution are between two and three times more probable to have young children and individuals with mental health problems than households in the top 20% (Mentalhealth.org.uk, 2023). This particular condition is indicating that the income level and employment status of the family created a direct effect on children's mental health problems during post-pandemic and pandemic situations on childrens and families who are living in poverty in the UK.

Economic instability and widespread job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in sectors that were already at risk, like tourism, retail, and the hospitality sector of the United Kingdom (Ntounis et al. 2022). Family members that reside in poverty, who frequently depend on these sectors for employment, have been significantly impacted by this epidemic as they lost their access to income opportunities. These families struggling with poverty have found it challenging to pay their bills, put food on the table, and access basic needs as a result of their income loss during the pandemic (Ntounis et al. 2022). For many families, this has increased their danger of poverty and homelessness and added to their general financial hardship. Hence, to minimize these effects on health inequalities among children and families from poor sections of society, the government needs to take positive non-judgemental initiatives for better engagement in the health and wellbeing programmes. In a similar context, Como et al. (2019) suggested that providing effective tailored support based on family-specific needs can support parents through a more holistic approach to minimize health inequalities. However, time is an important factor for all pilot evaluations that can help to improve the health inequalities caused by pandemic-generated emergencies.

On the other hand, it is found that due to the epidemic, healthcare facilities have been disrupted which is making it more challenging for low-income households to obtain both necessary medical care and other crucial services (Branley-Bell and Talbot, 2020). As a result, children become more vulnerable to health issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, this made it more challenging for families to get the treatment they need as a result of the shutdown of hospitals and clinics. These families are more likely to have poor health outcomes as a result of the disruption in their access to medical services. The reality is that poor families are unable to access essential services like food banks, oxygen banks, and blood banks which have increased the overall stress and difficulty for poor families in dealing with global epidemic (Branley-Bell and Talbot, 2020).

However, the UK government has announced a range of medical and healthcare support for children who are living with poverty which includes increased educational funding along with a 15 billion euro children's recovery plan (Nhs.uk, 2023). Apart from that “Skills and post-16 education Bill '' passed by the “House of Lords” aims to increase opportunities for young people in learning and training (Lordslibrary.parliament.uk, 2021). Besides, Public Health England has highlighted that the pandemic has an impact on the mental wellbeing of children but females from disadvantaged family backgrounds lost opportunities to meet their educational needs during the pandemic (Lordslibrary.parliament.uk, 2021). Additionally, in another survey conducted by the charity trust “Young Mind '' it is seen that more than 2438 young children agreed with the fact that they are in need of extra mental health support (Lordslibrary.parliament.uk, 2021). Therefore, the government can put effort into designing a specific child mental health development policy by underpinning normative understanding. For instance, experts have suggested that policies regarding child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) can be an essential measure because it can ensure relational mental health development among targeted population (McKinlay et al. 2022).

However, experts have suggested that in order to address the issues brought on by the outbreak of COVID-19 and help those who need it the most, UK decision-makers must move (Traxler et al. 2020). Additionally, it is crucial that these choices be made as soon as feasible to cut down the severity of these consequences on the younger section of the demographic who are living under the poverty line. Low-income households within the nation have suffered greatly during the epidemic. The provision of financial aid to families who have lost their income, the improvement of access to healthcare and other vital services, and the resolution of domestic abuse and family disputes may all be part of this (Lordslibrary.parliament.uk, 2021).

Addressing these issues will take a concerted effort on behalf of the government, nonprofit groups, and society at large. On the other hand, it is found that “The Family First Program'' has been initiated by the Walse government to improve the overall health outcome of poor children, young family members and families as this programme is emphasizing on early intervention, prevention and support at the family level (Lordslibrary.parliament.uk, 2021). Henceforth, the parent support initiatives, community-level support, working support to young members, along with family counseling facilities might help the Walse government to minimize health inequalities escalated by the pandemic among economically underprivileged sections. The following is going to be necessary to guarantee that families with low incomes in the UK obtain the assistance they require to get through the global epidemic and its repercussions.

Another study has suggested that strategies of initiating extra funding to allow educational institutions to provide the assistance they require during crisis, we can address the patchy mental health support offered through schools (MacAlister, 2022). Additionally, Cohen et al. (2022) suggested that the government needs to make sure that neighborhood nonprofits and youth organizations that offer crucial early mental health assistance endure the financial effects of the epidemic. Moreover, authorities need to make well-being a top concern when making school catch-up plans and be wary of actions that might put some children under more pressure, like expanding the school day.

Conclusion

At the end of the evaluation it can be said that the sudden outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic is limiting access to healthcare facilities to people across the UK who are living in poverty, besides, it is noted that the gap between life expectancy rate and the healthy life expectancy rate has increased and the pandemic generated critical socio-economic situation put long-term mental health and physical health issues among poor children. Additionally, this paper highlighted establishing a national network that ensures community wide helth intervention centres and offer open-access health facilities can resolve these issues in the long run. Moreover, the governing authority needs to ensure that there are seamless transitions between agencies and that every young person is aware of where and how to access support. In a word, it can be stated that all these actions taken in support of the health and well-being of children and families in poverty can improve the situation caused by the sudden outbreak of the pandemic.

References:

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