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.
- Children’s Disaster Services serves asylum-seeking families
Children’s Disaster Services presently has volunteers serving in the Washington, D.C., area with families who have been bussed from Texas and are seeking asylum in the United States.
- CDS team continues work in Uvalde, has opportunity to meet President and Dr. Biden
Six CRC-trained CDS volunteers have been in Uvalde for the past week and to date have had 157 child contacts during their time in the Family Assistance Center.
- Children’s Disaster Services team deploys to Uvalde
A team of six Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers traveled this morning to Uvalde, Texas, to provide specialized assistance to children and families impacted by the shooting. These volunteers are experienced and specially trained for critical responses that involved the loss of lives.
- Children’s Disaster Services offers two volunteer trainings this spring
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is holding two volunteer trainings this spring, in Pennsylvania in mid-May and in Washington State in early June.