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 as well as 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 family income level, race/ethnicity, and the 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.

These data are from the first two of three waves of a questionnaire. Sign up to receive KidsData News and data alerts for all the latest updates.

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 impact of the pandemic. 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 first wave of the questionnaire was administered in California from Nov. 9, 2020, to Dec. 11, 2020. The second wave was administered from March 22, 2021, to April 12, 2021. It will be administered one more time in the coming months.

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

Questionnaire Sample

In California, wave one includes 1,526 parents and caregivers who had at least one child under age 18 in the household, and wave two includes 1,520 parents and caregivers. In wave one, 29% of respondents had at least one child with a special health care need in the household, and in wave 2, it was 35%. 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 are similar in each wave. In wave 1, just over half of respondents were female (54%) and most were married or in a domestic partnership (69%). Nearly half of respondents were Hispanic (49%), while 28% were white, 9% were Asian, 5% were Black, and 2% were Native American. About the same percentage of respondents 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 respondents did not have a high school diploma. About equal shares of respondents reported family incomes under $30,000 (28%) and incomes $100,000 and above (25%). In each wave, all data were 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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