Florida shows how to help parents bounce back before government takes their kids away.
The kids are not alright. Even as vaccines roll out, children aren’t just missing soccer seasons and play dates—they’re falling behind developmentally and academically, to staggeringly negative effect. Our youngest generation is on the verge of a mental health and educational crisis unlike anything in American history.
Emergency rooms have seen a 24 percent rise in mental health-related visits from children ages 5 to 11 compared to 2019, and a 31 percent jump for children ages 12 to 17. Millions of students have missed school since March, while others struggle to learn at kitchen tables on borrowed computers and smartphones. Teenagers are dropping out of school to support their families.
The grinding quarantine of our children has also taken a toll on their parents. Isolated without a support system, parents are stressed, losing patience, struggling to cope, and overwhelmed by the burden of making ends meet. They are slowly unravelling into the worst versions of themselves, and it’s affecting their ability to care for their children.
Megan Rose is the CEO of Better Together, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping children out of foster care by strengthening families through work and relational support. She’s also a 2020-21 Civil Society Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
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