Children

Striving to Meet the Mental Health Needs of Children with Physical Health Conditions

Research shows children with chronic illnesses are at least twice as likely as healthy children to develop a mental health disorder. They’re at higher risk for neglect and abuse. Their caregivers and siblings are also at increased risk for mental distress.

Yet there are few mental health treatment programs that cater to the needs of these children and their families. The MEND program at Loma Linda University is an exception.

For Children with Disabilities, Climate Change Brings Multiple Threats

Climate change is a growing threat to people with disabilities. Not only is the weather getting hotter, but Californians are facing more frequent wildfires, poor air quality, evacuations and power outages. These events are particularly difficult to navigate for people with complex medical conditions and those who care for them.

Yet, researchers and policymakers have historically overlooked this vulnerable population when it comes to emergency planning.

Some Kids in Long-Term Care Facilities Didn’t See Parents for More Than a Year

Throughout the pandemic, medically fragile children in California’s pediatric long-term care facilities and their parents have endured drastic limits on their ability to see and interact with each other. Some locations barred parents and other caregivers from visiting their children in person for over a year, citing virus safety precautions.

Advocates and parents said they’re concerned that visitation policies at pediatric subacute units during the pandemic may have caused long-term harm to kids.

2. Parent advocates with the organization Integrated Community Collaborative speak with Latinx families during a 2018 event in Huntington Park about how to access Regional Center Services for their children. Photo courtesy of Integrated Community Collaborative.

For Spanish-Speaking Families, an Uphill Battle for Special Needs Services

A 2020 Public Counsel study of youth ages 3 to 21 living at home found that, for every $1 an English-speaking child received in fiscal year 2018-2019, a Spanish-speaking child received 82 cents — a disparity that grew 46 percent over the previous four years.

The unequal spending on services has persisted despite the state allocating an extra $11 million annually to reduce disparities in the regional center system.

Color Blind Ambition

Since the death of George Floyd nine months ago prompted America to re-examine entrenched racism in all its institutions – from police departments to corporations and colleges – the child welfare system too, has had to reckon with its troubled past and deeply flawed present.

Driven by evidence that child welfare decision-makers judge parents of color more harshly and are more likely to remove their children, calls for systemic change have grown more urgent among parent advocates, scholars and even agency leaders.

A young boy wearing a backpack, face mask, hoodie jacket, and rain boots, standing outdoors while its raining.

It May Be the Most Important Test of a Child’s Life. Most Aren’t Getting It

Tens of thousands of California children with developmental delays aren’t diagnosed until they hit the school system. For children whose delays are detected late, the ramifications can be lifelong. That’s because interventions such as behavioral, physical and speech therapy are often most effective when started during the toddler years.

Billions of connections are made in a young child’s brain. Research shows between 85 and 90 percent of brain development occurs before a child turns 3.

Parents Caring for Children with Disabilities Have Some Advice

After almost 10 months of staying home, some of these families have settled into the new reality and are receiving better support. Some have found creative ways to adapt. But others are still struggling to get their children the help they need.

How well families are doing depends a lot on their resources, both relational and financial. To help families that are struggling, lawmakers need to provide greater financial support such as stimulus payments, food subsidies and rental relief, advocates said.

Young yogi woman standing in Plank pose, home interior backgroun

Can Movement Serve as an Antidote to Health Disparities?

While physical education might seem a low-level concern during the pandemic, health experts worry that the loss of access to exercise at school could widen health disparities among students.

Health disparities often stem from a lack of access to nutritious food, outdoor space and health care, among other resources. As a result of these societal inequities, low-income communities and communities of color often see higher rates of health issues, such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. COVID-19 has shown how disparities can contribute to health outcomes.

Nakenya Allen outside her home in Martinez, California. Martin do Nascimento / Resolve Magazine

How Families Are Fighting Racism and Disability Discrimination

Many parents of children with special needs — regardless of race — struggle to receive prompt diagnoses and services. But for families of color, the challenge is more acute.

“There’s just a lot of systemic racism,” said Kausha King, director of the Community Empowerment Project, a program that provides navigation support and training to Black families of children with special needs in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

X Close

Subscribe to Our Mailing List