When disasters occur, having the capacity to respond quickly and efficiently at all levels is critical for children, families, and child welfare professionals. On this page, learn how to deploy or reallocate needed resources to respond in the immediate aftermath of disasters or major emergencies. The page also provides guidance for caseworkers serving families during a disaster response.
Caring for Children in a Disaster
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Provides information and resources to help families and service providers prepare for and respond to disasters.
Community Emergency Response Team
Describes the Community Emergency Response Team program, which educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills.
Coping With Disaster
Offers age-specific information about the ways in which children may respond to disasters, including resources for helping children cope with sudden changes.
Coping With Disasters and Strengthening Systems: Leading Your Agency Through a Disaster Tip Sheet
Capacity Building Center for States (2021)
Presents information for child welfare leaders on preparing for and responding to disasters. The resource explores how to best adapt leadership for disaster management, considerations for effective leadership across the phases of disaster management, and the importance of equity in disaster management.
'Embed Equity' in Disaster Response, Experts Say
American Bar Association (2020)
Discusses connections between responding to disasters and responding to inequality and the way systemic racism heightens disaster vulnerability for certain populations.
Rising to the Challenge: Lessons Learned in Responding to Disasters [Video]
Capacity Building Center for States (2020)
Highlights real-life experiences of youth, families, and child welfare agencies dealing with different types of disasters and presents lessons learned in responding to disasters and tips for disaster management.
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Download (PDF - 300KB)
Help Rebuild Community Resilience After Natural Disasters
Explores the role of social workers in disaster preparedness and response and reviews how they can assist families after a disaster.
Online Disaster Behavioral Health Trainings
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Lists trainings available to help caseworkers and other professionals serving their community around disaster response and recovery. The trainings cover building resilience, cultural competency, dealing with stress, effects on mental health, and other topics.
Resources Specific to Emergency/Crisis and Disaster Settings
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families
Offers information on trauma-informed services and a trauma-informed approach to disaster response. The webpage lists resources on how to become more trauma-informed, how to recognize trauma, how to avoid retraumatization, and more.
Tips for Disaster Responders: Understanding Historical Trauma When Responding to an Event in Indian Country (PDF - 3,513 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2014)
Provides information for disaster responders on understanding the historical trauma faced by Native American communities and the effects of that trauma.