Based on current research, children are less likely than adults to contract COVID-19 or to have significant health consequences because of a COVID-19 infection. However, children have been impacted by the pandemic with consequences to their physical, social, and emotional development, including missing scheduled vaccinations, well-child visits, and other routine health services. Parents and guardians may delay addressing their child’s health needs for a multitude of reasons: fears of visiting a clinic or doctor’s office during COVID-19, lack of access to school-based health care and social services, loss of job-based health insurance, or an inability to access the required devices or internet connection for video-based telehealth appointments.
The federal government has passed sweeping legislation and issued regulatory guidance to mitigate these harms. In addition, states are also taking action to address the pressing needs of children and families. Since the pandemic began, a number of states have made important administrative changes to support children and families. This analysis will highlight some of the innovative policy changes that could serve as models for other states.