Although the profound health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are prompting new questions about how families with young children may be affected, there has been limited attention to the specific ways that safety net policies and pandemic relief programs can be leveraged to buffer the pandemic’s adverse consequences for the youngest members of US society. As a result, opportunities have been missed to reduce harm among families with young children. In this brief, we use data from the most recent wave of the Coronavirus Tracking Survey, a nationally representative survey of nonelderly adults conducted September 11–28, 2020, to assess food insecurity and other key indicators of material hardship and well-being among families with young children. We find the following: Four in 10 parents (40.3 percent) living with a child under age 6 reported they or their family experienced a loss of employment or work-related income during the first six months of the pandemic, and this economic turbulence can make it difficult for families to meet basic needs at a sensitive point in early child development. #covid-19 #foodsecurity
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