Covid has caused the death of more than 200 000 children. They have not been helped by any efforts.

One professor of pediatrics stated that if a child loses a parent, they need someone to come at their doorstep immediately -- and I mean right away.

Covid has caused the death of more than 200 000 children. They have not been helped by any efforts.

Shelia Twyman is often plagued by the "what ifs" when her grandchildren awake at night crying.

In September, Shanna Twyman died. The children lost their mother to Covid-19. Their father, Shanna Twyman, died from liver failure two and a half years ago.


Twyman is putting her grandkids to sleep as she thinks about what they might have lost if the McAlester community in Oklahoma hadn't intervened.

After Shanna's death, Twyman cared for Shanna and her two youngest children. Avion, Shanna's oldest child, was welcomed into another family by his parents.

Twyman had to leave her 8-year old granddaughter, Cajhmonet and her 6-year-old grandson Cletis Jr. suddenly under her care. Twyman was left with little money.

She said that a fundraiser kept the family afloat as well as a steady stream of food donations from neighbors.

Twyman discovered that her and her grandchildren could receive up to $9,000 in Covid funeral assistance, just weeks after her daughter's passing.

She did not find out about federal reimbursement through an agency or official of the government. A mother from Avion's football club informed her.

She said that she didn't think it was necessary to use GoFundMe for the donations she received and the money her grandkids received prior to discovering that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would reimburse them for their funeral expenses. They should have been there right after my daughter's death."

The number of children who have lost a parent, or in-home caregiver, to Covid is estimated to over 200,000. Families and child advocates agree that it should be a top priority to identify and assist these children.

Charles Nelson, a Harvard Medical School professor and pediatrician, said that "it is a national emergency." He was also a pioneer in studying caregiver deaths to Covid. "If a child has lost their parent, someone must show up at the doorstep immediately -- and I mean immediate."

Nelson said that children can fly under the radar because there is no standard system for capturing which children have lost their mothers, fathers, or other significant adults in their lives.

Cindy Dawkins, 50, was a single mother from Boynton Beach, Florida. She died in August of Covid. Her children said that no one called the hospital or city to speak for her. A family friend would have helped them to figure out what to do.

Jenny Burrows (24-year-old daughter of Dawkins), stated that she doesn't believe anyone will turn down help. "You are not referring to adults who have lost someone. Talk about children who are unable to navigate the world and have lost the person or the people that were meant to help them.

Covid's funeral assistance program does not only benefit grieving children. It is not just for children. FEMA reported to NBC News that it has paid out more than $1.8 billion to reimburse funeral expenses to over 285,000 people. FEMA also stated that it is trying to increase awareness of the benefit, especially in underserved areas.

This is crucial according to the Covid Collaboration. It argues that people who suddenly become caregivers are often unaware of this and other options.

The December report of the collaborative on the bereavement of children was released by the collaboration. It urged the United States to quickly take action to support them.

The White House did not announce a specific initiative for these children until Wednesday as part of its new Covid-19 preparedness program.

The details of what was planned were not shared beyond the continuation of funeral expense assistance and "further create a bereavement intervention to support children, families," which includes trauma and grief-informed service. According to a White House official, it will be funded from existing funds.

The Covid Collaborative praised the move. Some felt that it should have been done sooner.

Betsy Hurst - Younger, Sonora, California said that they should speed up the process if they want to help. Hailey Hurst (33) died in September from Covid. She left behind two sons, 9-year-old and 11-year old. The boys are now living with Hurst Younger, Hurst Younger, and Hurst Younger, Hurst Younger, their uncle and father.

Hurst-Younger stated that she hopes that the federal response will recognize the unique challenges faced by children who have lost a parent due to a virus that is not yet gone.

She said, "Every morning, when the television is turned on, there's an updated on Covid cases." Her grandkids are still grieving the loss of their mother and "it's a constant reminder."

Life-altering losses, disproportionate burdens

As with other aspects of the pandemics, there is a racial gap in the people who have been most affected.

According to the Covid Collaboration, black and Hispanic children lost their caregivers at twice the rate of white children. Asian children lost their caregivers at 1.4x the rate of white children. The greatest burden was on American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander children who lost caregivers at a rate approximately 3.5 times that of white children.

Many children had pre-existing vulnerabilities. The December report by the Covid Collaborative showed that more than 13,000 children lost their sole caregiver. These children were already more economically and socially vulnerable.

To make matters worse, most children who have lost a parent/caregiver are younger than 13.

Experts say that regardless of age, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Other risk factors include neglect, abuse, substance abuse and poverty. Susan Hillis is a senior researcher at Oxford University and was the lead author on many studies about children orphaned from Covid. Hillis worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She stated that there is evidence to show that it is possible to prevent many downstream consequences by intervening early.

First, identify who is in need of assistance

Hillis believes that the best way for children to be tracked after the death of a caregiver is to include a box asking if there are any children below 18. A public health nurse or case worker should visit the family to assess the situation if the box is checked.

She said that some people may be able to cope on their own while others might need support.

Hillis stated that "Getting the help in the right time can make a difference in whether a child has PTSD" or if he or she develops severe depression and anxiety.

An official from the White House stated that federal efforts to reach children who have lost their parents will likely be made through state and local leaders, community-based organizations, but did not provide any timeline.

The Covid Collaborative launched Monday a website that provides a central list of resources to children who have lost their parents or caregivers. explains how to apply for Social Security survivors benefits and provides tools for emergency rental assistance. You will also find links to grief camps and family bereavement programmes, as well as other grief services.

Oklahoma's Twyman stated that she would have been able to benefit from such a comprehensive list after her daughter's death. Twyman is a hairdresser who has become certified to teach children with disabilities.

She expressed gratitude for the kindness of strangers and friends.

She said, "We had the community that supported us." She added that without them, she could see the children going through this, not knowing where their next clothes are coming from or where their next meal is coming.

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