Referrals to early intervention services, which help young children from birth to 3 years old with developmental skills like speech therapy, also dropped dramatically in the first few weeks of the pandemic, dropping 63% over the course of the pandemic. during the first two weeks of March 2020.
That’s because primary care physicians, who make about a third of all referrals for such support, stopped doing good health checks on children at the start of the pandemic.
Providers aim to provide children with early intervention services in their ‘natural environment’, be it home or childcare – with the aim of making them function at the same level as their peers. said Christy Scott, director of the early intervention program at Colorado’s Office of Early Childhood. “And if we don’t get the early intervention they need, then we might see the ramifications when they get into kindergarten, special education, or even kindergarten.”
Scott said there has been an increase in referrals recently, and advocates for child care are hoping that trend continues.
Household income has fallen and food insecurity has increased
Almost half of households with children have reported loss of employment income since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of March 2021, a third declared having difficulty paying the usual household expenses.
Meanwhile, about 10 percent of Colorado households with children reported not having enough food to eat over the past week.
Black and Latino families have suffered disproportionately, reporting more food and rental insecurity – and more job losses – than white families.
“They entered the pandemic with higher rates of child poverty, higher proportions of children without health insurance, limited access to high quality child care, and kindergarten to grade 12 education.” , Manoatl said. “During the pandemic, they were hit harder than other households (economically)… it’s kind of like an aggravated effect.”