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. 
Kids and COVID-19, past the six-month mark 
There's lots to unpack when it comes news around kids and COVID-19 in West Virginia. Here's what we know. Since our last newsletter, The Department of Health and Human Resources confirmed reports of the first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (more on MIS-C here). The number of new cases of COVID-19 in our state remains steady, while the number of deaths due to COVID-19 has increased

Weā€™re fortunate here; we haven't experienced a pediatric death in our state and reported COVID-19 cases in ages 0-19 remain below 14%. Still, kids remain a focus of the pandemic as plans continue to reopen schools. 

Two weeks ago, the State unveiled a COVID-19 color-coded school re-entry system. This dashboard is updated daily; color changes are updated every Saturday evening at 9pm. It's been tweaked and may be tweaked again, but the purpose remains the same-- track virus spread by county to gauge whether in-person learning is safe. 

WVDE has compiled and centralized school re-entry policies from every county. Theyā€™ve also set up a school re-entry hotline for those who have questions about the re-opening process. According to Governor Justice, counties that maintain slow virus spread will be able to continue with school sports, cheerleading and band

In our last newsletter, we reported that 13.57% of West Virginia's COVID-19 cases are children and youth between the ages of 0-19 and represent 9.18% of those who have been tested. As of Monday, % of West Virginiaā€™s COVID-19 cases are children between the ages of 0-19 and represent % of those who have been tested.

WVDHHR's COVID-19 Website
WVDE's COVID-19 Website
West Virginia Feeding Map 
Session Spotlight: Health and Hunger from the Health Care Provider Perspective
Hunger is growing. According to research published in The Journal of Pediatricsapproximately one-half of families receiving routine pediatric care at a community health center during the pandemic reported food insecurity. 

Still, adopting screening and referral practices in the primary care setting is challenging. With so many social determinants to address, do providers have time to screen? Does stigma play a role in apprehension to screen? Are there even community resources for providers to refer to? 

Join us for a conversation with primary care providers to discuss this important topic. This session is scheduled on September 29 from 10am to 11:30am.

Panelists 
Kimberly Becher, MD- Community Care of West Virginia
Rafka Chaiban, MD, FAAP- WVU Pediatrics 
Jessica Wooten, DNP- Coplin Health Systems

The session is free and open to the general public. Register here. Updates and Zoom webinar links will be sent via email. 
Breaking (and great) news! Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it will extend several feeding program "flexibilities" through December 31, 2020. The flexibilities allow summer meal program operators to continue serving free meals to all children into the fall months. More here. 
What we've written 

Itā€™s been called all threeā€“ the good, the bad, and the ugly. The new county alert system launched last week uses a color-coded metric to determine whether schools will be able to hold in-person classes, athletic events and extracurricular activities. So, is it good, bad, or ugly? Kelli takes a closer look.

Read her blog post: More about the Map

 

Andrea Roy,  project coordinator of Trauma-Informed Mindfulness Engagement for Kids, joins us for a timely blog post on mindfulness. "Planting seeds of mindfulness now can help our children develop into adults with the skills to manage their stress and be more present in their own lives."

Read her blog post: Simple Concept, No Easy Feat: Mindfulness for Kids in These Challenging Times
Enhancing support for grandparents and other relative caregivers

Relatives often step in when parents cannot care for their children. In 2018, an estimated 2.7 million children lived with kinship caregiversā€” grandparents, other relatives, or close family friendsā€”because their parents were unable to care for them. Taking on this responsibility can be challenging and expensive.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report last month that examines: what is known about the numbers of kinship care providers serving as primary caregivers; the reasons for that care; challenges kinship caregivers face; and the extent to which the Department of Health and Human Services has supported statesā€™ efforts to use federal programs and initiatives to address these challenges.

Here's what the GAO recommends: 

1. The Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) should establish an ongoing process to share information and best practices with states about programs it administers that are available to serve kinship caregivers, especially in states with a relatively large share of grandparent caregivers. 

2. The Administrator for the Administration for Community Living should establish an ongoing process to share information and best practices with states about using National Family Caregiver Support Program funds to serve older relative caregivers of children, especially in states with a relatively large share of grandparent caregivers. 


Read the report: CHILD WELFARE AND AGING PROGRAMS: HHS Could Enhance Support for Grandparents and Other Relative Caregivers
Our assessment project-- how are communities responding to the needs of kids affected by the drug crisis?-- continues. 975 survey responses received. 6 listening sessions conducted to date. Our community focus is moving from Putnam to Boone, Clay, Fayette, and Lincoln Counties. We hope you want to get involved and share your thoughts and ideas. If so, email Kelli ASAP. 

This project has been made possible in part by a grant from The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. Thank you for your support. 

Take (or share) the survey
View current infographics (Kanawha and Putnam)
View our events calendar
Join our Facebook group, From the Ground Up

Visit our project webpage
What we're reading

Healthy People 2030 has launched. This new 10-year plan features 355 measurable prevention and health promotion objectives and data-driven priorities for improving the nation's health. These new goals now place even greater emphasis on social determinants of health and quality of life. 

Visit the website: Healthy People 2030

We know that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are directly connected to long-term poor health outcomes; now, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have shown that adversity in childhood also increases the risk of premature death in early adulthood. According to the researchers, the results of the study stress the critical importance of broad structural public-health initiatives to reduce stressful adversity in childhood. 

Read the study: Trajectories of childhood adversity and mortality in early adulthood: a population-based cohort study

"Compared with young white childrenā€”of whom 7 percent experience multiple adversitiesā€”the percentage of children experiencing multiple adversities is approximately twice as high for Black and non-Hispanic other children, at 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively." This report from the Center for American Progress provides new data on the prevalence of adverse events among children from birth through age 3 and concludes with policy recommendations for preventing, identifying, and mitigating the harmful effects of adversity.

Read the report: Adversity in Early Childhood: The Role of Policy in Creating and Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences

Have a few minutes? We've partnered with the West Virginia Child Care Association and group homes and emergency facilities across the state to get notes of encouragement in the hands of kids who haven't had visitors since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

Click.Write.Send. That's all you have to do. Help let them know they're not forgotten. 
What else is going on? 
Brazelton Touchpoints Training: Newborn Behavioral Observations is a training is open to medical providers and home visitors for free. It's a three day event, with two sessions offered- September 15-18 and October 19-21. For more information, visit 
https://www.brazeltontouchpoints.org/. For other questions, contact Sue Workman


The Handle with Care program's annual conference is one of our favorites.
 And so, we're thrilled to share that starting this month, and on almost every Wednesday until June, you can attend a conference session. The agenda is already scheduled; the bio information is available on their website; just click on the image above. Each session is $10. 

The Mountain State Conference on Disabilities is a two day conference will provide cutting edge, best practice and evidence-based sessions for professionals while offering applied skill-based workshops for individuals on how to navigate through educational, medical and other journeys they may experience.

CEU's will be available for medicine, nursing, psychology, social work, speech language pathology, occupational therapy and physical therapy.



The Education Helpline, sponsored by Legal Aid of West Virginia, provides free legal information about education topics to parents, guardians, and caregivers in West Virginia. Visit their website to learn more. 
 
ā€œThanks for reading The Big Ideas, Think Kids' newsletter. A better West Virginia begins here, with its kids. Check out our newest brochure and if you haven't already, please subscribe."
 

Candice Hamilton, Board of Directors
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