Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Skip over global navigation links
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Children in Disasters: Human and Social Services Issues

Following Hurricane Sandy, HHS ASPR Division of Recovery, FEMA, Red Cross, and ACF supported state-led child disaster task forces charged with addressing the disaster health, behavioral health, and social services recovery needs of children and youth.  Recommendations for states, tribes, territories, and insular areas to develop similar task forces pre- and post-disaster are available in ACF’s Children and Youth Disaster Recovery Task Forces: Guidelines for Development.
CDC and the Institute of Medicine convened a Workshop on Medical and Public Health Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Considerations for Children and Families. This workshop examined medical and public health preparedness related to children and families including children with special healthcare needs. It also reviewed existing tools and frameworks that could be modified to include pediatric needs, as well as partnerships and organizations with vested interest that may be leveraged in planning to improve outcomes and allow for pediatric considerations to be integrated throughout local and state emergency plans.
In 2012-2013, HHS and FEMA partnered to develop a national approach for reunification of children separated from parents or legal guardians due to a disaster or public health emergency.  Post-Disaster Reunification of Children: A Nationwide Approach illustrates the significance of whole community collaboration and inclusive emergency planning.  It provides a comprehensive overview of the coordination processes necessary to reunify children separated from their parents or legal guardians in the event of a large-scale disaster. 

  • This page last reviewed: January 18, 2019