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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

Kids and COVID-19

West Virginia schools are cancelled for the rest of the school year, but the Governor has outlined next steps for reopening the state. This reopening includes childcare centers and could begin as early as May 4. Governor Justice has stated that if there's a "significant outbreak" in community-based transmissions, that steps to reopen will be rescinded or reevaluated. Children ages 0-19 continue to make up 4% of West Virginia's COVID-19 cases and 7% of those who are tested for the disease.  Resources listed share state-specific data, resources, and information detailing next steps in this process: 

Governor Jim Justice's Plan for Re-Opening the State- WV Strong: The Comeback
On the Same Page
As the pandemic continues to unfold in changing ways, we hope we can all adapt and respond to the needs of children together.  
Join us on Monday
 at 11am
for our bimonthly meeting to share updates on how the pandemic is affecting West Virginia's kids. Presenters include: 
  • Joni Greenberg with Project AWARE in Berkeley County will discuss how their county is collaborating to keep kids from falling through the cracks during the pandemic
  • Amanda Harrison with the WVDE Office of Child Nutrition will share child nutrition updates
  • Ashley Way-Fankhauser with the Wood County Family Resource Network will discuss how her organization is responding to the needs of kids and families, and how you can tap into the FRN network in your community. 
You'll have a chance to ask questions of guests, share updates about your programs / services, / events, and disseminate resources. If you have ideas or resources to share, please let us know. Come be part of the conversation. 

Zoom Registration Link 
Facebook Event Link
Materials on the Cloud Drive 

Got Kids? Take the Survey!

Like you, we're concerned with the effect of the pandemic on West Virginia's kids-- more than just fears of them contracting the virus, but if they're in safe environments, cared for, and having their needs met. Some kids are in safe, loving environments; some are not. To get a clear picture of what our kids may need during this unprecedented time, we've created this brief survey. 

If you have children in your home at this time, we'd appreciate it if you'd complete this survey, and/or share it with someone who does. We'll aggregate your information and share with county and state policymakers, so they can make informed decisions on the needs of West Virginia's kids. 


Take the Survey: WV Kids and COVID-19
"It was another week before he could come home, so I had to leave after he ate. I kept pulling over to look at his picture on the way home. He’s a super awesome 5 year old now, but I do miss that sweet baby sometimes." - Rachel Kinder May is Foster Care Awareness Month. With over 7,200 youth in West Virginia's foster care system, our state has a great need for new foster adoptive parents. This month, Mission West Virginia is sharing stories from parents around the state on their website to inform and inspire fellow West Virginians to consider parenting. 

Read Their Stories: Mission West Virginia
What We've Written 
"It’s never too early to explain to children that certain substances are dangerous and not to be touched." Up on the blog is Dr. Susan Bissett with the WV Drug Intervention Institute, Inc. at the University of Charleston. With kids confined to the home, it's more important than ever to ensure they stay away from medications. Check out the creative ways they are getting this message out to kids.

Read the Post: It’s Never Too Early to Talk to Children About Safe Medication Use
Learn More: WVDII



 
"Even with the stay at home order, the benefits of vaccinating babies and toddlers through two years of age far outweigh any risks of COVID-19." Candice Hamilton, Executive Director of the WV's Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a guest blogger of this important message-- keep your kids up-to-date on vaccinations during COVID-19. 
 
Learn More: WV Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics



"If we’re going to keep kids safe at a time when we can’t keep our eyes on them, we need to get real—and go beyond raising awareness. The safety net that often catches them is temporarily gone." Kelli partnered with Robert Peters, senior attorney with the Zero Abuse Project, on an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail. We are in this together — both in flattening the curve, and in protecting our children.

Read the Op-Ed: Caseman, Peters: Looking out for kids during crisis
Learn More: The Zero Abuse Project 
What We're Reading
"We are concerned that many children will be abandoned or separated from their families as a result of COVID-19 and increased poverty, mortality, poor health, family stress, domestic violence, and other reasons." This piece, The implications of COVID-19 for the care of children living in residential institutions, was published in The Lancet and written by the Lancet Institutional Care Reform Commission Group. Could the pandemic cause more children to wind up in residential living facilities? It's a compelling read. 

Read the article: The implications of COVID-19 for the care of children living in residential institutions




The Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program (CPSP) will collect data from 2,800 pediatricians across the country to provide a more accurate picture of the toll coronavirus is taking on children’s bodies. Doctors involved in the study have been asked to report all COVID-19 cases among children under the age of 18 that require hospitalization. Each week, they must collect details such as the age and status of patients, the level of care required in hospital, and past medical history. The CPSP will also collect data on how children with pre-existing medical conditions are impacted by the virus. 

Read the story: 
New study to assess impact of COVID-19 on children in Canada



Mass vaccination campaigns against a host of diseases are already grinding to a halt in many countries. For many children, these campaigns are the only chance to get vaccines. In the case of polio, more children will be paralyzed in countries where polio is still circulating, and the virus will likely spread to countries that are now polio-free.Twenty-three countries have already suspended their measles campaigns, and as a result, 78 million children will miss out on the vaccine. Governments are now having to make the touch decision: vaccinate or maintain social distancing policies.

Read the article: Polio, measles, other diseases set to surge as COVID-19 forces suspension of vaccination campaigns



“We are suddenly seeing in very stark terms what a silly proposition it is to say kids just need their parents. It’s not true.”
This piece, produced by The Hechinger Report, takes a deep dive into the effects that social distancing may have on a generation of kids. 


Read the story: 
How Will Social Isolation During COVID-19 Affect Our Kids?



Working women are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 recession unlike previous downturns which hit working men the hardest, says a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Among the biggest dangers, warn the authors is 21% of all children are at risk of living in poverty if all schools are closed for an extended period. The authors offer several ways that governments could help working women maintain their jobs and the standard of living for their families

Read the article: Women Bearing Brunt Of COVID-19 Recession; 1 In 5 Children May Be At Risk Of Poverty Says Study
What's Coming Up

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

Kids Health Hero
 
We're looking at you, Governor Jim Justice, for your decision to close schools for the remainder of the school year. You said: "I was really hopeful, and I tried in every way to get us to where we would be able to go back to school because I know how much the kids would appreciate it... but I’ve promised you over and over that I would never put you in a position that could be harmful. I promised that I would try to protect you in every way."

We know it was a hard and somewhat unpopular decision, and although we continue to worry for the kids who rely on schools for meals, emotional support, and safety, we're grateful for this decision.

 
Thanks for putting kids first. You're super, Governor Justice! 


"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." - Kelli Caseman, Executive Director 
 
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