Nurturing children

Since 1980 Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), a program of Brethren Disaster Ministries, 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.

Contact us

Children’s Disaster Services
601 Main Street, P.O. Box 188
New Windsor, MD 21776-0188
Phone:1-800-451-4407
Fax: 410-635-8739
Email Children’s Disaster Services
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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 News

  • Children’s Disaster Services exceeds goal for donations of Individual Kits of Comfort

    Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has exceeded its goal of 2,500 Individual Kits of Comfort to provide to children affected by disasters this year. CDS has developed the Individual Kit of Comfort as an alternative for in-person care to children affected by disasters during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Individual Kit of Comfort was created to promote

  • Global Mission and Service Ministries are separated into two departments, Roy Winter receives promotion

    The Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service has been separated into two departments: Global Mission and Service Ministries. The action carried out by general secretary David Steele was announced today, Sept. 25. Roy Winter, who had been associate executive director of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries, will provide oversight for

  • Brethren Disaster Ministries monitors disaster situations, Children’s Disaster Services sends out Individual Kits of Comfort

    Brethren Disaster Ministries is monitoring the situation in Louisiana and Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura as well as the wildfires affecting northern California. Staff are participating in national coordinating calls and communicating with partner organizations to coordinate any response. The initial Church of the Brethren response has begun with Children’s Disaster Services (CDS). The Red Cross activated CDS to deploy 600 Individual Kits of Comfort to aid children and families affected by Hurricane Laura and the California wildfires.

  • CDS updates children’s resources for use by congregations

    By Lisa Crouch Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has been actively reviewing and updating the COVID-19 resource page with new resources for families since the beginning of the pandemic. The Church of the Brethren COVID-19 Response Planning Committee requested a small children’s committee to form to assess additional outreach for church congregations at this unique time

More CDS Newsline articles

CDS Response Locations

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