March 03, 2022

Biden Admin Announces Support for Children Who Lost Caregivers to COVID-19 Following Letter Lead by Reps. Watson Coleman and Pressley

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) and Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement regarding the Biden Administration’s decision to include support for bereaved children in its updated National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

We applaud the Biden Administration for prioritizing support for bereaved children in its national COVID-19 strategy. The unprecedented trauma, hurt and grief caused by the pandemic has exacerbated the mental health crisis and has particularly impacted children who have lost a parent or caregiver.

Last year, the COVID Collaborative released a harrowing report which found that approximately 167,000 children lost a parent or in-home caregiver to COVID-19, 70 percent of those children were under the age of 13 and 13,000 lost their only caregiver. Due to the disparate impact of this pandemic on Black and brown communities, children of color were nearly four times as likely to lose a loved one. Tragically, many of these children have not received the support they need. In December, we led an effort to call on President Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra to take action to better identify bereaved children and provide the necessary federal aid to support them and their families.  

We thank the President and Secretary Becerra for heeding our calls and responding to this crisis with the urgency that it deserves. In its new National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, the Administration promised to provide financial support to bereaved families and further develop its bereavement response for children. We look forward to working with the Administration in taking further steps to better meet the financial and mental health needs of children and families who have suffered the traumatic deaths of loved ones.