ESRI report finds that action needed to address the short and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 response on children and young people

Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, Roderic O’Gorman T.D., has today announced the publication of the report ‘Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Policy in Relation to Children and Young People.’

The report, published by the ESRI, and produced in partnership with Department of Children and Youth Affairs, draws on existing and emerging Irish and international research on the effects of the pandemic restrictions on children and young people. In particular, the report reviews research evidence in the areas of family and peer relationships, health and wellbeing, education (from early childhood to third-level) and post-school transitions to provide insights into the potential consequences of the current crisis from infancy to early adulthood.

The report concludes that:

  • School closures and the lack of face-to-face interaction with peers and broader family networks are having direct effects on children’s and young people’s lives.
  • The impact of the pandemic will be felt the most by young people from more disadvantaged backgrounds and those with special educational needs.
  • Parental job loss and the possibility of longer-term unemployment will affect child wellbeing through greater stress in families.

As one of the report’s authors, Merike Darmody, put it:

"The disruption of learning is likely to have long-term consequences for many, especially for more disadvantaged children and young people. While short-term measures are important to address the immediate needs of children and young people, the actions taken need to be underpinned by policies addressing larger structural inequalities."

Addressing the report the Minister said:

"This report is an important resource for my Department as we work to address the impacts of the crisis on children and young people.  The report points to the need to address inequalities, support educational re-engagement and well-being, and the need to assist young people whose transition into the labour market has been disrupted.

We know that children and young people have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.  This report will be a vital tool as we work to address that impact, making clear the need to tackle inequalities, support well-being and re-engagement with education, and help young people back into the labour market.”