Commission Releases Interim Report with Recommendations to Strengthen Disaster Planning for Child Care Providers
Arlington, VA – The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) commends the National Commission on Children and Disasters on its efforts to protect children in child care in the event of a disaster. In its Interim Report released earlier this week to President Barack Obama and Congress, the Commission recommended that Congress and the states strengthen disaster planning within communities for child care providers and improve the capacity to provide child care services after a disaster.
To strengthen disaster planning within communities for child care providers, the Commission recommends that Congress require state child care regulatory agencies to include disaster planning, training and exercising requirements in state licensing regulations. They also recommend that Congress require State Child Care Administrators to develop statewide child care plans with state and local emergency planners, child care regulatory agencies, and Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs).
To improve the capacity to provide child care services after a disaster, the Commission recommends that child care providers be fully integrated into disaster planning strategies, which begins with Congress requiring the provision of child care as a human service activity with the National Response Framework. Congress should also amend the Stafford Act, which provides eligibility assistance, to provide reimbursement to support child care services to displaced families, the establishment of temporary child care, and the repair or reconstruction of child care facilities.
“There are more than 11 million children under the age of 5 in child care every week,” said Linda K. Smith, Executive Director of NACCRRA. “Children represent one of our most vulnerable populations, yet, until now, their needs during disasters have been overlooked. NACCRRA commends the Commission for making children in child care a priority and making strong recommendations to ensure they are protected before, during and after a disaster.”
The National Commission on Children and Disasters was created by Congress to conduct a comprehensive study that examines and assesses the needs of children related to preparation for, response to, and recovery from all hazards, including major disasters and emergency. The Interim Report provides findings, conclusions, and recommendations relating to not only children in child care, but also child physical and mental health and trauma; elementary and secondary education; sheltering; transportation; juvenile justice; evacuation; relevant activities in emergency management; and the need for planning and establishing a natural resource center on children and disasters. The Commission will submit a Final Report in October 2010.
As the leading authority on child care, NACCRRA has been working with the Commission to identify gaps in emergency preparedness, response and recovery in relation to children in child care and to provide recommendations for child care. NACCRRA will continue working with the Commission over the next 12 months to fine-tune recommendations to ensure they are clear, effective, and easily implemented.
To view a full copy of the National Commission on Children and Disaster’s Interim Report, visit http://www.naccrra.org/disaster/.