Children’s Disaster Services

Equipping volunteers

CDS volunteer training (2009)
Photo courtesy of Children's Disaster Services

Volunteers from across the country...

  • participate in a specialized experiential workshop.
  • undergo a rigorous screening process.
  • learn to work with children after a disaster.
  • are capable of mobilizing rapidly.
  • respond both locally and nationally.

Although many volunteers are motivated by faith, CDS’ training is open to anyone over 18 years old.   

CDS training

Participants CDS training learn to provide comfort and encouragement to children by offering the healing young children need in traumatic situations. They learn to create a safe, friendly environment that gives children the chance to engage in therapeutic play activities designed to relieve stress and calm fears.

Workshops include a simulated shelter experience (an overnight stay) and will be provided to any group of 15 or more adults interested in working with children after a disaster.  Participants completing the course will have the opportunity to become certified Children’s Disaster Services volunteers.

Because children can experience personal disasters (when a friend moves away, a pet dies, etc.) people who come in contact with a distressed child can benefit from this workshop.  Many of the concepts taught in Children's Disaster Services workshops are appropriate to use at those times as well as after disasters.

Certification and registration

Certification requirements

To become a certified volunteer for Children’s Disaster Services, you must:

  • be 18 yeas of age or older.
  • genuinely care about children.
  • be a team player.
  • be in good physical and mental health.
  • work well under stress.
  • be able to adapt to adverse conditions.

In addition, a volunteer must:

  • successfully complete an intensive 27-hour workshop.
  • be recommended by the trainers of that workshop.
  • provide at least 2 approved personal references.
  • obtain a clean Criminal Background & Sexual Offender Check.