Portsmouth, Virginia (WAVY) – This is perhaps one of the most sober pandemic statistics: Researchers estimate that more than 140,000 children in the United States lost a parent or guardian during a coronavirus pandemic.
Campaign 10 On Your Side contacted several local schools and agencies that support children in Hampton Roads to find out how local children were affected and to find out what services are available.
What we found is somewhat encouraging.
“Our data does not show an increase in the number of referrals due to the loss of caregivers or caregivers,” said Andrea Long, director and program director at Up Center.
The Up Center, which provides critical services to children and families in Hampton Roads, has not seen an increase in the number of orphaned children due to COVID-19, but there has been an increase in the number of COVIDs that are tearing families apart.
“Families can be separated from children because they are involved in the CPS,” Long said, referring to the Child Welfare Service.
It can be as scary as death for some children living in what child life specialist from Royal Daughters Children’s Hospital Gene Libourd calls a “question mark”.
“Our brains love a normal, same routine, and it’s also very comforting to children,” she said.
Libourd told us that children need to know that they will be cared for, they need information and hearing.
“If we can have strong connections of people who love us and care for us, we become more resilient and able to withstand life’s challenges,” Libourd told WAVY.
Up Center is one place where children and parents can gain the skills they need to cope and come back together as a family. This is the goal of the center.
“We certainly want to encourage people, parents to take care of themselves so they can take care of their children. And we certainly want to encourage parents to bring their children so they can get the support they need, ”Long said.
Counseling in Art Up the center now mostly virtual. They conduct individual, family and group classes as well as counseling in schools.