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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
Child care centers are among the entities that re-opened last week, after having to close for over a month. WVDHHR's Bureau for Public Health has issued guidance to assist child care providers and their staff in obtaining COVID-19 testing. Public school systems are closing for the summer months, but summer feeding of eligible students across the state continues. And the United States Department of Agriculture has approved West Virginia’s application for Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) cards, which will support child nutrition needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
On our next webinar
Join us on Friday at 12pm for our next updates webinar on how West Virginia is responding to the needs of its kids during the pandemic. Presenters include: 

Andrea Darr, Director of the Handle with Care Program, will share an update on how the program has adapted to the pandemic to ensure kids are still being handled with care and how we can help. 

Dr. Jennifer Gerlach, with WV AAP and Marshal Pediatrics, who will discuss vaccinations: What can we do to get kids back on their vaccination schedules? 

-Kent Nowviskie, Assistant to the Deputy Secretary at WVDHHR, will share updates from the child welfare reform collaborative, and how the State is responding to the needs of kids in the foster care system. 
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. 

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. To get a clear picture of what our kids may need during this unprecedented time, we've created this brief survey. 

Over 600 parents/guardians have completed it so far. Next week, we'll begin sharing county-level results with our partners. 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
Check out this incredible resource. Under the United Way's direction, the 2-1-1 website has been updated and revamped to help connect folks to county-specific information on food, shelter, utility assistance. Click on the image.
Getting into telehealth 
And just like that, telehealth has become a big deal for all of us. If you're feeling behind the curve or can't keep up with federal and state policy changes, here's a great resource. The Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center updates their toolkit daily with videos and links for both providers and patients to help make the transition easy. If you have questions, they're happy to respond. We've found pediatric provider information, kid-specific info, and resources to address child welfare concerns. 

Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center 
What we've written 
Schools are closing for the summer but feeding programs continue. Get up to date on changes on the state level, in your community, and how to help spread the word in Kelli's blog post. 

Read the Post: Feeding Kids After School Ends
What we're reading
Routine vaccinations for U.S. children have plummeted during the pandemic. A CDC study published last week suggests that efforts to vaccinate children came to a virtual standstill between mid-March and mid-April. The identified declines in routine pediatric vaccine ordering and doses administered might indicate that U.S. children and their communities face increased risks for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Parental concerns about potentially exposing their children to COVID-19 during well child visits might also contribute to the decline. As social distancing requirements are relaxed, the report warns, children who are not protected by vaccines will be more vulnerable to diseases such as measles. In response, continued coordinated efforts between health care providers and public health officials at the local, state, and federal levels will be necessary to achieve rapid catch-up vaccination.

Read the MMWR Report: Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Routine Pediatric Vaccine Ordering and Administration — United States, 2020

The Health and Human Services' Office of Human Rights has come to a voluntary agreement with West Virginia to protect persons in recovery from opioid use disorder from discrimination on the basis of disability.  The complaint alleged that, despite receiving a favorable home study finding, social workers with the WV Bureau for Children and Families (BCF) determined an aunt and uncle were not an appropriate placement resource for either child, citing the uncle’s history of taking prescribed Suboxone as part of his MAT program.  BCF declined to provide the aunt and uncle the opportunity to serve as a kinship placement option for these children. From Secretary of the WVDHHR, Bill J. Crouch. “Along with behavioral therapy, the use of MAT provides effective treatment for opioid use disorders, enabling individuals struggling with addiction to reclaim their lives."

Read the Release
Read the Agreement

Poverty in the United States could reach highest levels in over 50 years. Official estimates of poverty in the U.S. are presented on an annual basis and with a considerable lag. In this brief, researchers at Columbia University's Center on Poverty and Social Policy apply a new method for forecasting poverty rates in the using the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) framework with a goal of providing projections of poverty rates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the Brief: Forecasting Estimates of Poverty During the COVID-19 Crisis

We were incredibly moved by the testimony of Superintendent Marlon Styles of Middletown City School District (Ohio) to the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor. In his own words: "Finally, when schools reopen, our students are going to bring with them both enthusiasm, and challenges. For many students from underserved communities, they will be returning having experienced hunger, neglect, and possibly abuse. Schools will need resources to help measure the degree of learning loss that has taken place as well as resources to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of students so we can support their success."

Watch the Briefing:
Remote Learning in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic, House Committee on Education and Labor 

Finally, an opinion piece in the Washington Post by a a pediatrician and nonprofit executive with the Children's Health Fund, resonated with this this week, as we begin to look at what the future will look like for our kids. "In the United States, the pain will be unbearable for many of our children whose futures — and ours — are now on the line for the foreseeable future. Is all of this inevitable? Not necessarily. An all-out bipartisan 'Marshall plan' for this generation might be our only chance to salvage the United States’ strength and influence in the 21st century."

Read the Op-Ed: Today’s children are the pandemic generation. For millions, the future is now grim.
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." 

To 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. And don't forget to subscribe." - Kelli Caseman, Executive Director 
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