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, and 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.
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.
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.
- Brethren Disaster Ministries consults with districts following tornados and storms in central US, Children’s Disaster Services sends team to Missouri
A devastating outbreak of 59 confirmed tornados occurred overnight on Dec. 10 to 11 in the central US, followed by powerful storms on Dec. 15. District Disaster Response Coordinators (DDCs) from the affected Church of the Brethren districts--Illinois and Wisconsin, Missouri and Arkansas, Northern Plains, Southern Ohio and Kentucky, and Western Plains--report little to no damage in the communities with Church of the Brethren congregations.
- Brethren Press special offers are available for Maria’s Kit of Comfort, study guide for Advent devotional
The author of this year’s Advent devotional from Brethren Press, Angela Finet, has prepared a free, downloadable prayer and Bible study guide for use by small groups. In another special offer from Brethren Press, there is a discounted price for those who pre-order the new children’s book about Children’s Disaster Services titled Maria’s Kit of Comfort.
- CDS volunteers help welcome Afghan children and families evacuated to the US
The month of September has been a busy one for Children’s Disaster Services (CDS). With pandemic protocols in place, CDS volunteer teams have been responding to many requests to serve.
- Children’s Disaster Services responds to Hurricane Ida, Afghan evacuation
respond to Hurricane Ida and to provide care for children of Afghan evacuees, after a busy few weeks monitoring several deployment possibilities as well as preparing for multiple trainings to continue to prepare volunteers to respond to the special needs of children in disaster and trauma-related situations.