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.

Nigeria Crisis Response continues food aid in response to new food shortages, but begins to shift to long-term recovery
(August 12, 2016)
As the situation in northeast Nigeria becomes more stable and many displaced people move back home, the Nigeria Crisis Response program is beginning to transition to long-term recovery activities, while still supporting basic needs of displaced Nigerians and members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). This week, EYN leaders confirmed food shortages in some areas of the northeast, and have requested continued food aid at least through the end of 2016.

CDS deployments to California, W. Virginia, mark record number so far this year
(July 23, 2016)
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers recently returned from deployments in the areas of Kernville, Calif., and White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. CDS has had a record number of 9 responses so far in 2016, in addition to the Nigeria Healing Hearts response.

Children’s Disaster Services sends third team to Houston, Orlando team completes service
(June 24, 2016)
“We have another team headed out to Houston, Texas, this week, third one this summer,” reports Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) associate director Kathleen Fry-Miller. “I know the people there are getting very weary of all the flooding and water. I’m so grateful that we have volunteers willing to go.”

More CDS Newsline articles