HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A total of 120,630 children in the U.S. lost a primary caregiver due to COVID-19, according to a study posted in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Orphanhood is defined by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as the death of one or both parents. UNICEF includes the loss of a single parent because “the child may have increased risks of mental health problems, abuse, unstable housing and household property.”
The AAP study states that 23% of American children live in single-headed households.
The states with the highest number of orphaned children were California (16,179), Texas (14,135) and New York (7,175).
According to the study, the risk of losing a caregiver was up to 4.5 times higher for children of racial or ethnic minorities.
One of every 412 Hispanic children experienced losing a primary or secondary caregiver, compared to 1 of every 753 Non-Hispanic white children, and 1 of every 310 Black children.
The study concluded with the suggestion of an emergency response measure specifically for children orphaned due to COVID-19, titled ‘Care for Children.’ The response would focus on preventing deaths of caregivers, preparing family-based support services and protecting children from the increased risks of childhood adversity.