Children’s Disaster Services volunteers serve families affected by building collapse in Florida

By Lisa Crouch

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.

CDS had a small group of local volunteers standing by as soon as the reports of the disaster started coming in, eager to help any children affected. On Sunday, June 27, that local team was activated by the Red Cross for the “soft opening” of the Family Resource Center that was being set up.

A longterm CDS team also was activated on Sunday to deploy Monday. That team is mostly made up of Critical Response Childcare volunteers and began working in the Family Resource Center today. Critical response teams have received more specialized training for disasters that have an especially heavy and emotional toll, such as a mass casualty event.

The Red Cross is providing emergency lodging for more than 30 residents and others displaced by the crisis. They, along with other community organizations, also are supporting families at the resource center by offering support, aid, and a place to gather for updates from authorities. The resource center is expected to be open daily for as long as needed, and CDS plans to be there to support the children.

The Children’s Disaster Services local team that began the CDS response serving families affected by the building collapse in Surfside, Fla., on Sunday, June 27. Photo courtesy of Erin Silber. (CDS will not share photos of the children, nor family stories, due to the nature of this response.)

— Lisa Crouch is associate director of Children’s Disaster Services, which is a part of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Find out more about CDS at Contribute financially to this response through a gift to the Emergency Disaster Fund at


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