The COVID-19 pandemic1 affected populations all across the world, leaving virtually no sector untouched. In addition to the direct consequences of the virus—millions testing positive and hundreds of thousands hospitalized or succumbing to the virus—there were indirect consequences felt by many. The unprecedented number of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders caused many businesses to close permanently or to furlough a large number of workers. The economic and physical and health impacts of these closures were disproportionately borne by Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans. The true impacts on children and families may not be fully known until after the pandemic ends, but many agree that a new system of care is needed to promote the well-being of children and families in the pandemic’s aftermath.
This virtual workshop was organized by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Forum for Children’s Well-Being (the Forum) and focused on building systems to support children and families in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The workshop speakers and organizers paid particular attention to how these systems can combat structural racism. The workshop was held September 14–15, 2020, and included discussions related to supports in both the economic, behavioral, and public health systems that can promote the well-being of children and families. Participants engaged in discussions about a broad range of existing tools
1 The novel coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, from which it spread worldwide, leading to a pandemic.
and resources that could be used to further promote family well-being and health equity in the United States. A full agenda from the workshop can be found in Appendix A.
To highlight the various experiences of youth and families during the pandemic, Forum staff interviewed several teens and parents. A compilation of their responses was shown at the start of the workshop, demonstrating real-life challenges many of them have encountered throughout the year, including instances of racism, mental health struggles, and juggling work and school responsibilities. Their full interviews can also be found on the workshop webpage at https://www.nationalacademies.org/event/09-14-2020/reimagining-a-system-of-care-to-promote-the-well-being-of-children-and-families-a-workshop#sl-three-columns-d1c7d7da-267b4-e92-b905-8d1dbc2fe4b1.
This proceedings document is organized into five chapters. Following the introduction, which gives background on the Forum and context for the workshop,Chapter 2 presents an overview of the need to address structural racism systemically that includes a description of the ways in which it manifests in society. Chapter 3 specifically focuses on the economic system and includes goals and suggestions for reimagining systems for the future. Similarly, Chapter 4 explores behavioral and public health systems and potential solutions for moving toward an equitable system. Finally, Chapter 5 highlights the key messages from the presentations and discussions throughout the workshop. Copies of the speaker slides as well as archived recordings of the workshop can be viewed on the workshop webpage.
This proceedings document has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. The planning committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. The views contained in the proceedings are those of individual workshop participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all workshop participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.