Study finds day care centres were hit the hardest by COVID-19 pandemic

Washington: A new study found that amid the COVID-19 crisis, daycare centres had to suspend their services to homeless people due to economic difficulties.

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The study has been published in the ‘Disasters Journal’.

Soup kitchens and night shelters were able to continue their work but had to reorganise it a lot. Rehabilitation or resocialisation facilities were the least affected by the pandemic.

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Mentally vulnerable clients and, in most European countries, migrants, as well as clients needing social assistance for the first time were the most affected by the pandemic. This caused a surge in the demand for food assistance, accommodation and counselling.

Assistance, however, often remained unavailable because the volunteer staff was overburdened in most countries, organisations lacked crisis strategies and national information was scarce.

The study also showed that care organisations coped better in countries where their relationship with the national social welfare system was stronger. Estonia was one of these countries.

Researchers highlighted three recommendations to improve the organisations’ coping with crisis. First, care organisations should have crisis support funds, extra rooms for providing shelter and, psychological counselling for staff to cope with the increased need for assistance during the crisis.

Secondly, care organisations should be involved in the process of the planning of crisis strategies and mitigation measures so these would better meet their clients’ needs.

Thirdly, the employees of care organisations deserve recognition for acting as key intermediaries of official risk and crisis information and creators of an environment promoting safe behaviour, and as organisers of the vaccination of clients.

The study is based on 32 qualitative interviews and three workshops with the managers and staff of the organisations.

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