The Critical Response Childcare (CRC) team is a group of experienced Children’s Disaster Services volunteers who have received additional training that prepares them to work with children after an aviation incident or other mass casualty event. The presence of a compassionate care giver, along with carefully selected play activities, has a significant impact on the recovery of a child who has experienced the trauma of such a loss.
In a mass casualty event, a team of specially trained, experienced volunteers would be immediately assembled in order to respond within hours of deployment by the American Red Cross. When the volunteers arrive on site, they work in a Family Assistance Center, where those impacted by the incident participate in briefings and receive support from the American Red Cross. This partnership between the American Red Cross and Children’s Disaster Services ensures that children’s needs are being met in an appropriate and compassionate manner.
Since 1997 the CRC team has responded in the U.S. to the mass shooting in Orlando, the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, eight aviation incidents, one train incident, and the Boston Marathon bombing.
As part of the ongoing efforts to support the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), Children’s Disaster Services is working in partnership with EYN Women’s Ministries and Director Suzan Mark on trauma healing curriculum for children. In April 2016 the Healing Hearts curriculum was launched at a Training of Trainers event in Nigeria with 14 women theologians from various communities in northeast Nigeria. The curriculum uses story, the arts, and play experiences to work with children on trauma healing from the violence of the Boko Haram. The group initially provided trauma healing sessions for 123 children at a local school and orphanage as a practicum experience. One child in the session said, ‘My burden is gone, so I have peace in my mind.’ We will continue to report on this program as it develops.