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WESTCHESTER CHILDREN’S ASSOCIATION SURVEY FINDS DISPARITY IN LEARNING AT HOME

Response reveals the need for additional mental health services

WHITE PLAINS, NY – Westchester Children’s Association (WCA) has released the findings from two online surveys the group conducted this past May to determine how parents and their children and school districts were faring with learning at home. The Superintendents Survey received responses from 28 school districts (there are 40 districts in the county). The response to the Parents Survey, which was released in English and Spanish, was overwhelming with a total of 969 responses submitted by the time the survey closed.

Together these two surveys revealed that, although school administrators are doing their best to address the issues that have arisen due to the sudden switch to remote learning, there are challenges that still need to be addressed. Additionally, the Parent Survey was conducted online for efficiency and safety reasons, but it most likely reduced participation from families who do not have internet access at all.

Key findings:

  • Families in City Districts were almost 3 times as likely to request a computer for their families (31%) as opposed to families in non-city districts (11%).

  • Families in City districts (43%) were more likely to wait for a requested computer for their child as compared to families from non-City districts (10%).

  • In the Superintendent Survey, school districts were asked what else families needed at this time. Four (4) of the eight (8) school districts that responded focused on the need to provide mental health services for the parents and the children.

Westchester Children’s Association has had its finger on the pulse of children’s issues that are heightened due to the Coronavirus pandemic such as disparities in education and homelessness. In late summer of 2019, WCA released their report, “Making the Invisible Visible: Westchester’s Hidden Homeless Children and Youth. In this report, WCA was able to determine the disparity that exists in defining what homelessness is at local, state, and federal agencies. During the lockdown, WCA demanded that Westchester County use the broadest definition of homelessness possible to provide safe housing for families who live in overcrowded homes where families are double and tripled-up because children will be more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 and cannot safely quarantine from infectious people in the home. The issue of overcrowded households also creates a barrier to learning due to lack of space, computer hardware, and internet access.

You can read about the survey results and the homelessness report by visiting www.wca4kids.org/blog.

Westchester Children’s Association is a multi-issue child advocacy nonprofit that seeks to ensure that every child is healthy, safe, and prepared for life’s challenges regardless of race, gender, or zip code.

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