Children's Disaster Services

Nurturing children

 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. 

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. 

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A Children's Disaster Services volunteer helps a boy rebuild his world.

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.

See more Children's Disaster Service videos on YouTube.

CDS updates


CDS volunteers in Oklahoma care for more than 1,000 children
(June 28, 2013)
The number of children served by Children’s Disaster Services volunteers working in Moore, Okla., has now passed 1,000. The CDS volunteers are serving children and families affected by the tornado that devastated the town of Moore in May.
CDS volunteers continue to care for children affected by Oklahoma tornados
(June 7, 2013)
“Please keep the people of Oklahoma in your prayers,” asks Roy Winter, executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has had a group of volunteers serving in Moore, Okla., since May 25. As of June 4, 325 children have received care.
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