COVID-19 has had a massive impact on our lives.
For some, this impact is easing. But for others it continues to be a struggle, with unemployment and financial struggles burdening families across Victoria.
Financial hardship can have lasting effects on a family beyond the immediate and most obvious challenges – such as impact on mental health and difficulty in paying for food, utilities, rent and transport.
Children may experience educational challenges, bullying and mental health issues too as a result of their family’s financial hardship. And we know that when families experience prolonged disadvantage, the effects are intergenerational, making it difficult for children to fight their way out of poverty as they grow older and start their own family.
“A family’s socio-economic status is the biggest factor influencing children’s educational opportunities in Australia. Research by the Mitchell Institute has found children from struggling families are 10-20% more likely to be missing key educational milestones compared with their peers.” - Misha Ketchell, The Conversation*.
Percentage of school and pre-school children with employment stress in the family:
Source: The Conversation*
“Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show 2.7 million people left their job or had their hours reduced between March and April. This means the jobs crisis is affecting 1.4 million Australian children, according to new modelling from the Mitchell Institute,” writes Ketchell.
Easing the stress
We have seen a substantial increase in the number of families and individuals looking for financial support during the COVID period.
Over the last four months we have provided financial assistance to 1,438 people across Greater Melbourne, Geelong and Gippsland, and 55% of those were families with dependant children.
While 31% of these clients only needed one bout of financial support, a whopping 14% needed assistance 10 or more times, showing how impactful COVID has been on the finances of so many households.
People who come to us for financial assistance will often also be experiencing high levels of stress or other challenging factors in their lives, and so through our Emergency Relief program, we are able to refer them to other relevant supports such as counselling or family violence help.
To support our Emergency Relief program and the many families and individuals who rely on our help, visit www.ccam.org.au/HelpingHand
Liz Gellel | Communications Coordinator
CatholicCare Emergency Relief data is correct as at 25 June 2020.
*Number of Australia’s vulnerable children is set to double as COVID-19 takes its toll