Increasing Children’s Resilience in Disaster
Use your mouse or arrows to scroll left and right and understand more about these important topics from the perspective of the communities that participate in the Resilient Children Resilient Communities Initiative.
The five topics outlined in these issue briefs elucidate key issues facing communities in their efforts to promote resilient children through disaster events, and particularly the compounding of disasters amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. These issues are complex and though each represents a singular topic for policy, they are not isolated from each other or from issues external to disaster contexts. To continue increasing the resilience of America’s communities and children, we must continue to understand these social issues as nuanced and interconnected challenges.
Each issue brief ends with a few key recommendations, which are collected here:
Support policies for childcare as an essential industry and service
- Advocate for child-serving institutions to be considered essential businesses as a baseline for economic recovery.
- Adjust state funding regulations to accommodate the necessary flexibility for child-serving institutions when an emergency is declared.
- Establish protocols to protect childcare workers as being “at increased risk” to ensure childcare programs are sufficiently staffed before reopening.
Broadband access for children is more urgent now than ever before
- Promote and resource broadband as a public service to give all students an equal opportunity to online education during the coronavirus pandemic regardless of socioeconomic standing or geography.
- Cultivate and expand programs that further the reach of broadband access initiatives to address all four modes of inequality:
- Broadband and network access
- Service costs
- Technology device access
- Technology device training in multiple languages
Invest in mental health support services for schools and communities
- Increase resources for mental health and supportive services in schools.
- Expand trauma-informed practices across communities nationwide.
- Recognize and support practices that take a root-cause approach to improve mental and physical health outcomes.
Prioritize stable housing programs and kid-friendly shelters
- All emergency shelters should include child-friendly accommodations as part of the sheltering plan.
- Create more options using non-school shelters to promote educational continuity in disasters.
- Support secure housing initiatives in disaster-prone areas, especially for renters in low and moderate-income communities, to reduce overall disaster sheltering demand and increase efforts to maintain a home-based routine and normalcy for children.
Food security in disasters reduces the risk of new poverty
- Lengthen the duration of emergency food security programs to persist beyond short-term disaster response through the entire disaster recovery period to ensure stability for children and families.
- Prioritize food security programs in disaster-prone regions to impede increases in post-disaster poverty.
- Account for lifestyle restrictions when designing food security programs for the impoverished: reduce wait times, long lines, and other engagement barriers for the working poor.
COVID-19 Pandemic Aid Allocations and Spending on Children in Disasters
During the coronavirus pandemic, the critical need to address these issues became starkly apparent. All at once, the entire nation became acutely aware of the interplay between children’s disaster resilience and the reliance of the economy upon the stability of children’s services. Emergency legislation passed during the COVID-19 pandemic sought to address these five critical issues, and though it represented a step in the right direction, there are still more improvements to be made in order to ensure the resilience of children and communities in disasters.
Click through to explore how the top 5 needs of children benefitted from appropriations made during the CARES Act of March 2020 and subsequent appropriations included in Public Law 116-260 in December 2020 and the American Rescue Plan Act of March 2021. You can trace funding for these 5 issues back to its original source to better understand the ways in which government programs foster resilience among this critical and vulnerable population.
Last updated: April 7, 2021