By Carolyn Neher
On Oct. 28, Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) deployed a team of five Critical Response Childcare volunteers to Lewiston, Maine, in partnership with the Red Cross. This deployment was made in response to the mass shootings at two locations in Lewiston in which 18 people were killed and 13 others were injured.
The Critical Response Childcare team arrived with a calm presence for children and families affected by this disaster, and a CDS Kit of Comfort–a suitcase with toys and activities chosen specially for children to play with to help their emotional recovery after such a traumatic event.
Critical Response Childcare teams are made up of certified CDS volunteers who have received additional specialized training to respond to mass casualty events. The team is providing children from affected families with a safe and secure environment to play while their families receive assistance. The team is working to minimize the impact of the traumatic stress experienced by the children.
Prior to this response in Maine, the most recent deployment of a Critical Response Childcare team was to Uvalde, Texas, in May and June 2022 to support children and families after a mass shooting at a school there. Other deployments in recent years were to a building collapse in Surfside, Fla., in 2021, and to mass shootings in El Paso, Texas (2019), Gilroy, Calif. (2019), Pittsburg, Pa. (2018), Las Vegas, Nev. (2017), and Orlando, Fla. (2016).
— Carolyn Neher is associate director of Children’s Disaster Services, a ministry of the Church of the Brethren within Brethren Disaster Ministries. Find out more at www.brethren.org/cds. Support the work of CDS with financial gifts at https://churchofthebrethren.givingfuel.com/cds.
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