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.


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.

Church World Service kit depots to re-open in mid-August
(June 17, 2020)
“CWS is planning to open many of its spring kit depots from Aug. 17-Sept 4!” Brethren Disaster Ministries shared on its Facebook page this week. “Thank you for continuing to care for and send blessings to those affected by disasters. These kits make a real difference!”


CDS updates children’s resources for use by congregations
(May 16, 2020)
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has been actively reviewing and updating the COVID-19 resource page with new resources for families since the beginning of the pandemic. The Church of the Brethren COVID-19 Response Planning Committee requested a small children’s committee to form to assess additional outreach for church congregations at this unique time in our history.


Children’s Disaster Services to provide individual Kit of Comfort
(April 29, 2020)
The staff of Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) have been working on a shift to new ways of serving children who are affected by disasters this year.


More CDS Newsline articles

 

CDS response locations

View a larger version of CDS Responses 2011-2018 created with eSpatial mapping software.