Reports and evidence briefings

Second Annual Report National Child Mortality Database Programme: The second National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) annual report includes data from the first year of the child death review national data collection in England. The report provides descriptive analysis of the characteristics of the children who have died from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020. Key findings showed the infant mortality rate for this period was 3.4 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Furthermore, there were approximately three times as many deaths for children who were resident in the most deprived neighbourhoods compared to the least deprived neighbourhoods. The report also includes a list of recommendations for different stakeholders.

The Case for Change: The independent review of children’s social care, chaired by Josh MacAlister has been set up with an aim transformin the children’s social care system and improve the lives of children and their families. The Case for Change is the Review’s early thinking about what needs to change in the children’s social care system. It sets out the problems early, giving everyone the opportunity to understand their thinking and give readers/stakeholders a say in as well. Read here for more information on how to contribute.

Childcare: support with costs: This House of Commons Library briefing paper is intended to inform constituents about the financial support available to help with childcare costs in England only. It provides the sources of support with childcare costs namely free hours of childcare for younger children, childcare vouchers (Employer Supported Childcare), Tax-Free Childcare etc.

Research

Association Between Race and COVID-19 Outcomes Among 2.6 Million Children in England: While there is an established association between race and severe COVID-19 outcomes in adults in England, it is unclear whether a similar association exists in children. This study used a cohort study including children (0-18 years) between January 24 and November 30, 2020 using the QResearch database. Of 25,76,353 children, 15.9% were tested for SARS-CoV-2 and 6.4% tested positive. Some of the findings showed than when compared with White children, Asian children were more likely to have COVID-19 hospital admissions whereas Black children (and children of mixed or other races had comparable hospital admissions. Additionally, Asian children were more likely to be admitted to intensive care. This study identifies several race-specific disparities in severe COVID-19 outcomes. However, ascertainment bias and residual confounding in this cohort study should be considered before drawing any further conclusions.

Child malnutrition: hungry for action: Despite the dangers of malnutrition to the health and future potential of children worldwide, only about a quarter of countries are on track to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for stunting, wasting, and overweight. Most people in food crises and most children with malnutrition live in Africa or Asia. Given the common drivers behind undernutrition and overweight, double-duty interventions across the life course are crucial. There is an urgent need to scale up these programmes, strengthen their implementation, and adapt them to local contexts and cultures. This editorial calls for a renewed commitment and investment, as there are less than 10 years until the SDG deadline.

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