CT Voices Report: Safety & Stability of Youth & Families Must be Prioritized in State Recovery Plan
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April 20, 2021 Ashlee Niedospial
New Haven, CT – Connecticut Voices for Children (CT Voices) today released a report, “More Than a Health Crisis: Long-Term Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Connecticut Youth and Families,” that analyzes the impact of the pandemic on employment, basic needs, and education and outlines the necessity of prioritizing the safety and stability of Connecticut's youth and families in the state's recovery planning to avoid long-term economic harm.
“The pandemic has never been solely about the COVID-19 health crisis; it’s also about the coronavirus-induced economic crisis. The pandemic’s impact on the economy has created real and lasting challenges for Connecticut families and youth," said Emily Byrne, Connecticut Voices for Children Executive Director. “Our state must prioritize children and young adults as it addresses racial and ethnic equity in its planning and rebuilding to ensure a recovery that supports all Connecticut residents. Our state’s economy depends upon it.”
In order to understand the severity of the pandemic-induced recession on Connecticut’s youth and families, CT Voices examined data collected between August 19, 2020 and March 1, 2021 from the U.S. Census Bureau’s weekly Household Pulse Surveys and compared the data against national trends.
Through analyzing survey responses, the report found that young adults reported some of the highest rates of unemployment in the state, while households of color and households with children were more likely to report having lost employment income than white households and households without children.
Disruptions in income have:
Impacted the ability of individuals and households to afford basic necessities, such as rent payments;
Impacted the ability of individuals and households to afford sufficient food; and
Disrupted education—both K-12 and post-secondary—and many in Connecticut have chosen to put off or cancel their plans for higher education.
“It has been clear since the beginning of the pandemic that COVID-19 has disproportionately harmed Connecticut’s Black and brown communities and young adults,” said Ryan Wilson, Connecticut Voices for Children Research and Policy Associate, “but with intentional focus and action, the state can ensure that recovery efforts mitigate the continued negative effects of the coronavirus recession. Unless we intentionally prioritize the safety and stability of Connecticut families, the pandemic has the potential to intensify the systemic and structural racial injustices that have already existed in our state.”
The findings of the report are clear: Connecticut must act now to ensure that youth and families’ needs are met during the pandemic so that they are ready and able to fully return to their work and education when the state’s institutions completely reopen. If the safety and stability of Connecticut’s youth and families are not prioritized in the state’s recovery planning, we potentially risk another decade of Connecticut experiencing high unemployment, low wage growth, and some of the slowest economic growth in the country.
To help ensure the well-being and prosperity of Connecticut’s youth and families the report outlines the following policy recommendations:
Connecticut must ensure that young adults are a focus in its recovery plan and policymaking.
Connecticut should not reopen before ensuring its young workers are safe.
Connecticut must prioritize racial and ethnic equity in its response to the pandemic.
Connecticut needs a fair tax system that works for everyone.
Connecticut should restore the applicable percentage of the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to 30 percent, or increase it to 40 or 50 percent.
Connecticut should create a state Child Tax Credit (CTC).
Connecticut must increase its share of available affordable housing, and municipal governments must be part of the solution.
Connecticut must do its best to protect education funding from the effects of the pandemic.
Please note that the terms: children, young adults, and youth are defined in the report.
Read the Just Research here.
Read the Just Facts here.
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Connecticut Voices for Children is a “think and do” tank working to ensure that Connecticut is a thriving and equitable state, and where all children achieve their full potential. In furtherance of its vision, Connecticut Voices for Children produces high-quality research and analysis, promotes citizen education, advocates for policy change at the state and local level, and works to develop the next generation of leaders.