Child and Family Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Child and Family Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic provides quick access to data available on that describe life disruptions and emotional and behavioral consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data help measure the pandemic’s impact on children and caregivers, builds understanding of how families are faring, and suggests where support might be most needed.

Access data on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on critical areas of children’s health and well-being:

Data are available for California and seven regions within California. At the state level, findings are broken down by income level, race/ethnicity, and presence of a child with special health care needs in the household. Visit the topic summary page for more information and links to additional research.

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Caregivers Share Their Thoughts

Caregivers responding to the Child and Family Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic questionnaire reflected on caring for their children during the pandemic.

“I feel like I have become more loving, considerate, and patient with my children. The need to stay home has helped us create structure. I thought I was going to get irritated by having my kids home with me all the time, but it’s really been the opposite.”

“I’ve had to let go of a lot of expectations and have really learned what is important.”

“The biggest issue is protecting my child from my own anxiety and worries. She’s young enough that her daily life isn’t too disrupted but old enough to know the grownups are upset.”

About the Data Source

The data come from a national questionnaire covering a wide range of content areas to help inform on the pandemic’s impact. The questionnaire, Family Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic, was designed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA), and Tufts Medical Center, Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE). Findings from the questionnaire are intended to inform experts at AAP, CDC, PCAA, and HOPE on the pandemic’s effects on families and help them produce resources for medical practitioners, caregivers, and others.

In California, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health (LPFCH) and the California Department of Public Health Essentials for Childhood Initiative (EfC) led by the California Department of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch and the California Department of Social Services, Office of Child Abuse Prevention, funded an oversample of the questionnaire to produce findings at the sub-state level and about children with special health care needs. Findings will inform policy makers, program leaders, advocates, and others about how experiences varied within California and to what extent families with children with special health care needs faced greater challenges.

The questionnaire was administered in California in three waves across nine months. The first wave was administered from Nov. 9, 2020 to Dec. 11, 2020, the second wave was administered from March 22, 2021 to April 12, 2021, and the third wave was administered July 8, 2021 to July 27, 2021.

To learn more about the development of the questionnaire and access national-level findings, visit Family Snapshots: Life During the Pandemic on the American Academy of Pediatrics website.

Questionnaire Sample

In California, wave one included 1,526 caregivers who had at least one child under age 18 in the household. Wave two included 1,520 caregivers, and wave three included 1,602 caregivers. Most caregivers were married or in a domestic partnership (69% in wave one, 72% in wave two, and 73% in wave three). In wave one, 29% of caregivers had at least one child with a special health care need in the household; in wave two, it was 35% of caregivers; and in wave three, it was 34% of caregivers. Children with special health care needs have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.

Demographics were similar in each wave. Using wave one as representative of all waves, just over half of caregivers were female (54%). The racial/ethnic characteristics of caregivers included Hispanic (49%), white (28%) Asian (9%), Black (5%), and Native American (2%). About the same percentage of caregivers in all three waves had a high school diploma (30%), attended some college or had a two-year degree (29%), or had a four-year or post-graduate degree (30%), while 12% of caregivers did not have a high school diploma.

Annual household income differed slightly across the waves. The percentage of caregivers who reported incomes under $30,000 decreased (28% in wave one, 25% in wave two, and 22% in wave three), while reports of incomes at $100,000 and above increased (25% in waves one and two and 29% in wave three).

In each wave, data are weighted to reflect caregivers for children under age 18 in California.

Related Webinar

The webinar, “Family Experiences During COVID-19 Pandemic Data,” features an overview of the questionnaire and covers national and California-level findings from presenters, Drs. Robert Sege from the HOPE Project at Tufts Medical Center and Lori Turk-Bicakci from the KidsData program. The webinar was sponsored by the California Department of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch and the California Department of Social Services, Office of Child Abuse Prevention’s Essentials for Childhood Initiative. The recording and slides are available.

Data on Family Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Education, Health Care, and Social Activities

Economic Security

Supportive Services

Emotional and Behavioral Health

Child and Caregiver Safety

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Positive Childhood Experiences

Caring for Children With Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN)

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