A report shows more than half of Michigan households with children lost employment income since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the fall, about 55% percent of households with kids in the state reported having lost employment income. In July, that figure was as high as 66% according to data from the latest Kids Count Report conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Kelsey Perdue, the director of Kids Count for the Michigan League for Public Policy, said this loss of income had a ripple effect on families, especially families of color.
“Based on this report and survey results, at least 7% of Michiganders raising children that were surveyed reported being uninsured," she said.
During the months of June and July, the percentage of families raising children having lost income was the highest it has been in the last nine months with 63% of white families reporting income loss, 76% of Black families and 82% of Latinx families.
Perdue said it's not just loss of income that has disproportionately affected families of color, but also the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19.
"I think that adds another layer of concern and trauma that, even when the pandemic is no longer a pandemic and public health isn't as much of a concern in the same way it is now, mental health concerns will continue to impact these parents and children moving forward," she said.
Before the pandemic, Michigan had one of the highest rates of health insurance coverage for children in the nation, but today Perdue says a quarter of Michigan households raising kids said they didn't get needed medical care because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Perdue hopes the report shows legislators that not only do families in Michigan need relief now, but also policies to help weather future crises better.
"How do we help working parents access what they need to create, really, a stronger and more reliable system that will allow young people and children to not just survive, but to thrive," she said.