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 temporarily suspends volunteer travel to rebuilding sites, Children’s Disaster Services postpones spring training workshops
(March 13, 2020)
Brethren Disaster Ministries has been closely monitoring the rapidly changing information about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the illness that it causes. “We have been tracking where the virus has been reported with an eye toward making decisions regarding our rebuilding project sites and out of concern for our volunteers, leaders, host communities, and the clients in whose homes we work,” said an announcement today. “After considerable discussion and prayer, BDM has made the decision to temporarily suspend all volunteer travel to rebuilding sites.”


Church of the Brethren staff plan to go forward with spring and summer events, while monitoring circumstances surrounding coronavirus
(March 6, 2020)
The Church of the Brethren staff planning events this spring and summer do not intend to make any cancellations because of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). However, they are assessing risks and monitoring information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other health authorities to plan ahead for eventualities and circumstances beyond their control.


Children’s Disaster Services sends team to Texas
(September 26, 2019)
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) deployed a team to Beaumont, Texas, in response to the flooding from Tropical Depression Imelda. The team arrived Sunday, Sept. 22, and began serving children in Beaumont and Silsbee, Texas, the following day.


More CDS Newsline articles

 

CDS response locations

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