regarding children in child care. A child care provider may have parents in their database, and a city may have child care providers in a database, but this needs to be backed up and remotely available so that it is accessible when needed.

Finally, at the provider level, Smith reiterated, preparedness is “more than a fire drill.” Providers need assistance in developing plans and Smith noted several specific needs, listed below:

  • A call-in system: Child care providers can contact a central location to report their status during a disaster.
  • Age-specific materials: These are currently lacking and could be useful for providers when working with young children who have been traumatized.
  • Up-to-date information from parents (e.g., how to reach them in an emergency, medications the child may need to have if evacuated).
  • Funding for preparedness activities: Given the limited income of a child care provider, this is especially needed.

Although needs and gaps exist, child care remains a critical component of response and recovery. Parents need to clean up, pick up, move or rebuild, stand in lines for assistance, and return to work. At the same time, child care providers are also trying to rebuild their home or business. Providers themselves are part of the impacted community and are also traumatized. Providers are not automatically trained to deal with traumatized children. Facilities may be damaged and closed, and if a facility is closed for 2 or 3 months, it may go out of business. In closing, Smith referred participants to emergency standards for child care developed by Save the Children and the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (now Child Care Aware).3


Among many other organizations, FEMA has recently embraced and encouraged a “whole community” approach when it comes to emergency planning and response and recovery. Parallel with that concept, a continuous theme throughout the workshop was that the involved


3Available at (accessed September 9, 2013).

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