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.

Brethren Disaster Ministries responds to Hurricane Michael, other needs
(October 19, 2018)
Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children's Disaster Services work in Florida, North Carolina, Haiti, Texas, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico


Brethren Disaster Ministries begins Hurricane Florence response
(September 21, 2018)
Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM) and its associated programs have monitored Hurricane Florence’s advance toward the United States and begun response efforts following the hurricane’s landfall on the North Carolina coast.


Emergency Disaster Fund grants assist children
(August 23, 2018)
The Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund has made several recent allocations, supporting efforts on the Texas border and refugee work in the Middle East.


More CDS Newsline articles