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. 

View and register for CURRENT WORKSHOPS

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.

BDM & CDS gift catalog


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.

Newsline Special: Update on hurricane response
(September 15, 2017)
More CDS teams go to Florida, Brethren Disaster Ministries assesses post-hurricane needs


Newsline Special: Hurricane update, Action Alert on DACA
(September 9, 2017)
HURRICANE UPDATE 1) Children’s Disaster Services prepositions team in Florida, in advance of Irma 2) Brethren Disaster Ministries monitoring hurricane situation in US and Caribbean 3) Material Resources ships relief to Texas, seeks urgently needed donations of clean-up buckets 4) How best to help: Advice from Brethren Disaster Ministries ACTION ALERT 5) Office of Public Witness Action Alert on DACA


Children’s Disaster Services prepositions team in Florida, in advance of Irma
(September 9, 2017)
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has prepositioned volunteers in Florida, in advance of Hurricane Irma, at the request of the American Red Cross. CDS staff have learned that the Red Cross anticipates there will be over 120,000 people in evacuee shelters in Florida.


More CDS Newsline articles