Highlighting the Importance

Based on data from Save the Children’s 2014 Annual Disaster Report Card, If disaster strikes, 21 states and the District of Columbia lack basic preparedness standards to protect children in schools and childcare centers, and only 4 in 10 American families have a plan to deal with such an emergency. It took an astounding seven months to reunify the last child after Hurricane Katrina.

  • More than half of US families have been affected by a disaster
  • 42% of parents do not know where to meet their children if they’ve been evacuated. It took almost seven months to reunite the last child with her family after Katrina
  • Of every $10 spent on Federal Agency Preparedness Grants, less than one penny goes to activities targeting children’s safety

Building on Research

Studies show that barriers that prevent children from returning to school quickly after a disaster can delay the return to normalcy that kids need, and the long-term impact can be devastating. Quickly returning to a routine can improve a child’s recovery and simultaneously allow the family unit to address other recovery issues.

In one of NCDP’s seminal studies, from the Gulf Coast Child & Family Health Study (a five-year study of 1,079 households in Louisiana and Mississippi post-Katrina), the notion was explored that children are “bellwethers of recovery.” Meaning that if children are doing OK (supported, in school, getting needed services, etc.) then it is likely that the community is generally doing well in all phases of a disaster, particularly during recovery.