Children's Disaster Services

Nurturing children

Photo by Carol Smith

 Since 1980 Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has been meeting the needs of children by setting up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers across the nation.  Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, volunteers provide a calm, safe and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires any natural or human caused disaster. 

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Volunteers from across the country

  • participate in specialized experiential training
  • undergo a rigorous screening process
  • learn to work with children after a disaster
  • are capable of mobilizing rapidly and responding both locally and nationally. 

Volunteers arrive to a disaster location with a “Kit of Comfort” containing carefully selected toys that promote imaginative play. Volunteers give children individualized attention and encourage them to express themselves, thereby starting the healing process. Although many volunteers are motivated by faith, CDS’ training is open to anyone over 18 years old. 

CDS provides respite, education and individualized consultation for parents about their child’s unique emotional needs after a disaster.  Through consultation or workshops specifically tailored to each situation, CDS also works with parents, community agencies, schools or others to help them understand and meet the special needs of children during or after a disaster.

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CDS updates

Bridges is the Brethren Disaster Ministries newsletter published three times a year. It features articles from our Children’s Disaster Services program, as well as our Rebuild program, and international efforts. Learn more about the Bridges Newsletter.

Nigeria Crisis Response provides overview of work in 2016
(January 14, 2017)
A summary of the Nigeria Crisis Response work carried out in 2016 has been provided to Newsline by coordinator Roxane Hill. The Nigeria Crisis Response is a joint effort of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries are both involved in the effort. The following summary covers the year through November and includes tallies of accomplishments in the seven areas of focus. For more about the Nigeria Crisis Response go to www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .


CDS continues Healing Hearts training in Nigeria
(December 16, 2016)
We are so grateful that John Kinsel was able to return to Nigeria earlier this month and provide additional Healing Hearts training, trauma healing for children, and follow-up on behalf of Children’s Disaster Services (CDS). He was again hosted by Suzan Mark, director of EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) Women’s Ministry.


Children’s Disaster Services team begins work in N. Carolina, Material Resources ships to hurricane-affected areas
(October 29, 2016)
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is responding in North Carolina following Hurricane Matthew. Areas of the state suffered severe flooding caused by the hurricane that hit the east coast of the United States after sweeping over Haiti and other areas of the Caribbean. A CDS team of volunteers traveled to Fayetteville, N.C., on Tuesday to begin serving children and families affected by the flooding.


More CDS Newsline articles