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.

CDS volunteers work in Oregon over holidays, deploy to area flooded by Mississippi
(January 8, 2016)
Volunteers from Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), a program of the Church of the Brethren and its Brethren Disaster Ministries, were deployed to a Red Cross shelter in Oregon City, Ore., after an apartment building was evacuated. The evacuation was carried out because of concerns about landslides in the aftermath of strong storms on the Pacific coast.


Winter and spring workshops are offered by Children’s Disaster Services
(December 11, 2015)
Children's Disaster Services (CDS) has issued a winter-spring workshop schedule for 2016. The CDS training obtained at these workshops is a unique kind of disaster preparedness training. The trainings will include logistics of disaster response work, all through the lens of compassionate care for children and their families, as well the caregivers themselves.


EDF grants go to families in Myanmar and Haitians in the DR, CDS receives UMCOR grant
(November 13, 2015)
The staff of Brethren Disaster Ministries have directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to aid families in Myanmar (Burma) who were affected by Cyclone Komen, and to help people of Haitian descent who are living in the Dominican Republic.


More CDS Newsline articles