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 resumes volunteer training
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is announcing its first volunteer training workshops since pandemic restrictions started last year. At this time, three events have been announced:
- Children’s Disaster Services has completed its work at Surfside building collapse
The Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) team serving at the Surfside building collapse in Florida returned home after a six-day deployment, due to low numbers of children in the facilities.
- Children’s Disaster Services volunteers serve families affected by building collapse in Florida
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has deployed a Critical Response Childcare team to Surfside, Fla., to serve families affected by the heartbreaking building collapse that occurred in the early morning hours of June 24. More than 150 people are still missing and the current official death toll is 11.
- 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