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 closes Coastal Carolinas project, Children’s Disaster Services continues work at border
In updates from Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), the rebuilding project site in North Carolina has been closed, with the prospect of reopening the site this fall. CDS has sent a second volunteer team to Texas to work with migrant children and families at the border
- EDF grants support CDS work on border, COVID-19 relief in Nigeria and around the world
Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund to COVID-19 response in Nigeria through Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and the worldwide COVID response by Church World Service (CWS). Another grant supports CWS relief work in Indonesia and Timor-Leste following flooding. A grant also has been given to support a humanitarian response at the southern US border by Children’s Disaster Services (CDS).
- Children’s Disaster Services deploys team to work with children at border
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has deployed a team to work with children along the US/Mexico border in Texas. This CDS team will be on location for two weeks, providing creative play opportunities for the children and much needed rest for their parents before the next leg of their journey. Since arriving in Texas, the team has been averaging 40 to 45 children per day in the CDS center.
- Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services monitor situation at border
Staff of Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) are monitoring the situation at the southern border of the United States as numbers of migrants increase, in particular the conditions for families with children and unaccompanied minors.