Translating Knowledge for Child Welfare Organizations Across the Prairies: Managing the Impacts of COVID‑19 on the Mental Health of Children, Families, and Workers
The shifting circumstances surrounding COVID‑19 have led to a rapid proliferation of research and resources, but organizations responsible for meeting the urgent needs of children and families in child welfare typically have little time to find, evaluate, and translate knowledge to inform services for vulnerable children and families. The conditions brought on by COVID‑19 have increased the possibility of separation, isolation, and reduced social support, as well as education, mental health, and physical health services. Thus, children and families are at heightened risk for trauma reactivation and deteriorating family conditions. Workers are also challenged in their efforts to rapidly change practices to respond to increasing demands and the growing complexity of cases, to ensure the safety and well-being of children and families. Thus, in close consultation with existing and new partners, we will undertake a rapid, month-long knowledge scan, synthesis, and subsequent mobilization initiative related to child welfare and COVID-19, geared to child-serving organizations from across the Canadian Prairies. We will use a variety of mobilization outlets, including an innovative Digital Connections Hub, which will be organized into policy, systems, and best practice responses to meet the mental, physical, and social health needs of children, families and workers. We will focus on the unique needs of Indigenous peoples, females, and others at risk of the compounding effects of COVID‑19 on existing inequalities. Through an established infrastructure, affiliation with several research centres, and a well-connected research team, our initiative will contribute significant benefits by providing a forum for access to synthesized, vetted research and accessible resources to increase knowledge and support for child and family services providers. This will in turn improve the physical and mental health and well-being of vulnerable children and families during COVID-19, and beyond.