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California senator introduces bill to establish hope account for COVID-19 orphans

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More than half a million children have lost a parent or main caregiver as a result of COVID-19, according to experts in mental health.

Some kids were unable to attend funerals or bereavement services because of the outbreak. Others were unable to say their final goodbyes. Existing economic problems, food and housing insecurity, and disruptions in education have compounded and complicated the mourning of certain kids in underprivileged communities.

After two years of the coronavirus pandemic, some people are returning to their pre-pandemic lifestyles. Hundreds of thousands of children, however, have lost a parent or caregiver due to COVID-19. According to a study by a nonprofit advocacy group, COVID-19 claimed the lives of more than one out of every 360 children.

According to CDC data, Louisiana is one of 34 states where 200 or more children per 100,000 have lost a parent. California’s state legislature has proposed a bill to assist them.

“So, I have a bill that would provide hope accounts because those kids, they are going to turn 18, and then they won’t have parents that they can rely on. And so, fortunately, we have social security survivor benefits for most of those kids, not all, but many of them,” said California Senator Nancy Skinner. 

Skinner’s bill would deposit $4,000 into accounts for children from low-income households, but only in one state.

“The tragedy of COVID is that it really impacted our low-wage workers who had to still go to work, many of whom were black and brown families, low-income families,” Skinner told CBS. “They were disproportionately, they died in disproportionate numbers. So now their kids have lost a parent to COVID.” 

Children of American Indians and Alaska Natives are 4.5 times more likely than White children to lose their primary caregiver to COVID on a national level, according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health. Children of color had a 2.4-fold increase in risk, whereas Hispanic children had a nearly 2-fold(1.8) increase in risk.

Image Credit: Getty

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