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Think Kids is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that envisions a day when all of West Virginia's kids are safe, healthy, and aspire to do great things
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our health-- including kids'. Like you, we're concerned with the effect of the pandemic on our state's children-- more than just fears of them contracting the virus, but if they're in safe environments, cared for, and having their needs met. To get a clear picture of what our kids may need during this unprecedented time, we've created this brief survey. 

Nearly 700 parents/guardians have completed it so far. If you have children in your home, please take this survey, and share it with those who do. Help us make kids a priority when we take important steps as a state to address the crisis. 

Take the Survey: WV Kids and COVID-19
County infographics: Here's a preview
We'll begin sharing survey results with Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Clay, Lincoln and Fayette Counties over the next few months. If you live in these counties, please share the survey link. All infographics will look like the one below, with the same information specific to your county. Partners, you're free to use this data for any grant writing, advocacy, etc. as needed. 
On our next webinar
Join us next Friday at 12pm for our next updates webinar on how West Virginia is responding to the needs of its kids during the pandemic. We'll be focusing on health care: Medicaid, improving our vaccination rates and connecting health care with community supports and resources. 

Presenters include: 

Cindy Beane, MSW, LCSW, Commissioner for  the West Virginia Bureau for Medical  Services

Barbara Thaxton, Program Manager, West Virginia Immunization Network

Margaret O'Neal, President and CPO, United Way of Central West Virginia 
You'll have a chance to ask questions, share updates about your programs, services, events, and disseminate resources. 

Zoom Registration Link
Facebook Event Link
Materials on the Cloud Drive 
Racism harms children's health. What can you do? 
"Avoiding the topic is not the solution." These words are from Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, psychologist and former president of Spelman College, in Sunday's article in USA Today, George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. What do we tell our children?  Learn more about How Racism Harms Children and Talking to Children About Racism via these links. Also, read the American Academy of Pediatrics 2019 policy statement on The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health. 
The On Our Sleeves movement, launched on World Mental Health Day 2018, is on a national mission to break the silence surrounding children’s mental health.  With free on-line content and resources, On Our Sleeves is offering hope to families navigating mental health issues in their own lives. There are also conversation starters and tips for friends, families and co-workers who want to support children living with mental illness. Click on the image to learn more.

Who's the new face of the mandated reporter? The statewide shutdowns of schools and daycares means that thousands of our state’s children are no longer seeing mandated reporters — the school employees, after-school staff and childcare providers who are required, under state law, to relay child abuse concerns to authorities. We all need to step up and keep watch. Many thanks to Andrea Darr and the Handle with Care program for creating this flyer. You can download it here.
What we've written 
Dr. Mike Brumage wrote a blog post about how we've become desensitized to the plight of our country's children. "The frog, growing accustomed to the rising temperatures, doesn’t jump out of the boiling water. Sadly, in many ways, neither have we."

Read the PostThe Frog in the Pot

Kelli celebrated Think Kids' six-month anniversary with a blog post about data-driven advocacy. Does the phrase sound more like buzz words than a strategy to improve kids' health policy? Give it a read. 

Read the Post: Now More Than Ever, We Need Data-Driven Advocacy

What we're reading
The West Virginia Department of Education is working on guidance for county school systems to re-open in the fall. The Outbreak to Recovery Advisory Council will spend the next few months developing guidelines on how schools will open in the fall and recommend to county school systems how they can address the academic, social and emotional needs of children

Read the WVNews article
Read WVDE's council proposal plan

Maybe our schools will never be the same. "But when people suggest 'things will never be the same,' they’re talking about something deeper, about how we live—about our habits, norms, and ways of living. For parents, teachers, and students, it’s possible that some aspects of schooling might not go back to the way they were before." Douglas N. Harris, Senior Fellow of Governance Studies at the Brown Center on Education Policy, poses some possible changes to our public school systems on the Brooking Institute's Blog. 

Read the post: How will COVID-19 change our schools in the long run?

New York State is investigating 102 reported cases and three deaths related to COVID-19 illness in children.  Emerging data on this new syndrome have largely come from Europe. Italian researchers reported last week in The Lancet on a series of 10 children who were diagnosed with the Kawasaki-like syndrome after the outbreak of COVID-19 illness there from mid-February to mid-April 20, 2020 -- a 30-fold increase in the number of cases compared to the 19 total children with Kawasaki disease in the previous 5 years.

Read the article: Kids' COVID-Linked Ailment Is Not Your Typical Kawasaki Disease— A number of differences emerging, but U.S. data still scant

You can't reopen the country without childcare, and child care in the United States is a “system” in name only. We're big fans of this NYT's opinion piece, written by Shantel Meek and Conor P. Williams: "Child care shouldn’t mean children roaming around while a babysitter sits idly by. It’s where children’s brains grow. We need to treat it as such. Yes, child care is about parents getting back to work. But, odd as it seems to have to reiterate, child care should also be about children."

Read the op-ed: How to Build a Better Child Care System
What's Coming Up

Are the kids alright? COVID-19 + Youth. Research. Policy. Practice. Advocacy. Organized by the NYS Youth Justice Institute, this series of web-based panel discussions will explore the pandemic's current and foreseeable impacts on youth and young adults, and innovative approaches to the present crisis. Experts from diverse fields will examine these issues, with a focus on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on historically marginalized populations. Kelli will serve as a panelist for the session "COVID-19 and Education: Equity and access to learning and vital supports." 

Learn More and Register

Now more than ever, the connections we make between health care and community resources to feed the hungry are critical to keeping West Virginians immune systems strong. Experts warn that the pandemic could cause extreme hunger to significantly rise. Come join experts from West Virginia's health care and food pantry systems to discuss ways to work together to address these challenges. Registration is free. 

To Register: The Health and Hunger Summit
“Thanks for reading The Big Ideas, Think Kids' newsletter. If you have any article ideas, research to highlight, events to share, etc., please let us know. Check out our newest brochure and don't forget to subscribe." - Kelli Caseman, Executive Director 
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