“We believe it is critical to address the growing number of children who are experiencing traumatic loss and ensure that resources are available to them to both cope with the loss of a caregiver and fulfill their basic needs. Because of this, we request a response on the following questions:
What resources and financial support is the Administration currently providing to children who have lost a parent or caregiver due to COVID-19?
Are any funds from previous COVID stimulus packages being dedicated towards supporting bereaved children? If so, what type of support are they receiving?
Are there federal assistance programs available to support low-income families who may have lost their primary-income provider and caregiver due to COVID-19? What barriers currently exist for families to access these programs?
What steps is your administration taking or planning to take to better identify bereaved children and ensure they and their families have timely access to federal resources and assistance?”
Signatories of the letter include Reps. Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Norma Torres (CA-35), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Karen Bass (CA-37), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), André Carson (IN-07), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), John B. Larson (CT-01), Grace Meng (NY-06) and Ro Khanna (CA-17).
The letter can be read in full here.
Throughout her career, Congresswoman Pressley has been a tireless advocate for trauma-conscious policymaking. In June 2021, Rep. Pressley reintroduced the STRONG Support for Children Act, her landmark legislation that takes a holistic and community-based approach to addressing the growing crisis of childhood trauma.
In October 2021, Rep. Pressley, along with Reps. Dina Titus (NV-01), David McKinley (WV-01) and Peter Meijer (MI-03), unveiled the Post-Disaster Mental Health Response Act, legislation to expand mental health supports for survivors of natural disasters and terrorist attacks that do not receive a “Major Disaster” declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In March 2021, Rep. Pressley sent a letter to President Biden calling on him to address the nation’s growing trauma crisis and laying out a series of steps the administration should take to confront the far-reaching hurt plaguing our communities and our nation. In April, she published an op-ed where she reflected on the collective pain experienced by communities in her district over the past year.
In July 2019, Rep. Pressley worked with Chairman Cummings to convene the first-ever Congressional hearings on childhood trauma. Watch Congresswoman Pressley’s full question line and follow-up questions here and here.
As a Boston City Councilor, she convened the Council’s first-ever listening-only session to hear directly from those impacted by the trauma of community gun violence.