Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) as the lead. The federal government role is to support locally led recovery efforts to restore and improve the health care and social services networks in the affected communities. Core mission areas include health care services impacts, social services impacts, referral to social services/disaster case management, public health, behavioral health impacts, environmental health impacts, food safety and regulated medical products, animal health, school impacts, and long-term health issues specific to responders.

ACF’s Role in Emergencies

ACF, through the Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR) and in collaboration with each of 10 regional offices, provides national leadership in human services preparedness, response, and recovery. ACF is focused on child wellbeing, and Thomas said that ACF services touch the lives of every community and every tribal nation across the country.

In the event of any major disaster, ACF

  • provides situational awareness on human services systems status and disaster-caused unmet needs;
  • conducts outreach to Office of Child Care (OCC) and Office of Head Start (OHS) programs and grantees;
  • coordinates federal support for children’s needs;
  • conducts immediate disaster case management assessments and services;
  • participates in the identification of the “problem set” for federal partners;
  • defines the landscape of potential need for federal support and engagement across interagency in support of health and social services recovery, including new partners coming in to assist in response and recovery;
  • focuses on establishing structure to support local long-term recovery operations at regional level; and
  • identifies opportunities for building resilience (capacity, mitigation).


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