A bipartisan group led by two former governors is urging President Biden to help an estimated 167,000 children who have lost
Courtney Grund, whose husband died of Covid-19 in August, got an alarming text message last week: Her 16-year-old son was “talking about self-harm,” according to the message, sent by his friend. She quickly signed him up for grief counseling, she said in a tearful interview, using her maiden name to protect his privacy.
John Jackson, a disabled veteran on a fixed income, said he had struggled to find help for his 14-year-old daughter, whose mother died in the pandemic. “I can see it in her, where she’s suffering,” he said.
Pamela Addison, a reading teacher whose husband died, said she felt fortunate that she could afford therapy — $200 a session out of pocket — for her grieving 3-year-old.
Although Congress has allocated trillions of dollars to combat the pandemic, including more than $100 million for existing children’s mental health programs and $122 billion for schools, the Biden administration and lawmakers have not yet created initiatives specifically for the tens of thousands of children who have lost parents and primary caregivers to Covid-19.
Behind the scenes, leaders of a bipartisan coalition of experts in education, the economy and health — backed by wealthy philanthropies and headed by two former governors, Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho, a Republican, and Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, a Democrat — have been meeting with White House officials, urging them to do more.
© Copyright LaPresse