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.
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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.
Children’s Disaster Services
601 Main Street, P.O. Box 188
New Windsor, MD 21776-0188
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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.
- Children’s Disaster Services offers training sessions
Children’s Disaster Services has three upcoming training events. Participants completing the 25-hour workshops will have the opportunity to become certified Children’s Disaster Services volunteers. CDS would love to see an increase in the number of Church of the Brethren-related volunteers.
- Washington City supports asylum seekers bused to nation’s capital
Due to numerous humanitarian crises around the world, thousands of people are seeking asylum in the United States, some of whom make perilous journeys to the southern border. In April 2022, the state of Texas began sending many of these asylum seekers in buses to Washington, D.C., without plans for their care or in coordination with the city government or others in the area.
- Lisa Crouch resigns from leadership of Children’s Disaster Services
Lisa Crouch has resigned as associate director of Children's Disaster Services (CDS), a ministry of Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Church of the Brethren. She will conclude her work at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on March 31.
- Brethren Disaster Ministries monitors needs as California experiences extreme weather
Brethren Disaster Ministries staff are monitoring the re-occurring storms and flooding in California and their damage, and sending prayers for those who are affected. The staff have reached out to leadership of Pacific Southwest District and received word that they have not heard from any Church of the Brethren congregations experiencing issues, either for their church buildings or their members.