Resources to Help Families and Children Affected by Superstorm Sandy
Superstorm Sandy disrupted many children and families' lives -- leaving them without power, in flooded areas, and, in some cases, homeless. As families and communities begin the hard work of cleaning up and rebuilding, we must remember the mental and emotional impact disasters have on children and families that remains after the last power lines have been restored.
Hurricanes and other disasters are scary and difficult for children, especially, to understand. Fortunately, many resources exist to help parents discuss storms and disasters with their children even before the fact. Child Care Aware has developed a set of resources, Preparing for Disaster-The Parent View, to provide parents with information and tools to help prepare their children for what may come.
Other family members, friends and child care providers can also help children understand what has happened and attend to their social-emotional needs. Head Start and child care centers provide families with stability and resources, especially in times of need. Many children in affected areas attend child care or Head Start centers that may have been affected by the storm, as well. Knowing the important role that these centers play for children and families, the Office of Head Start (OHS) and the Office of Child Care (OCC) have provided resources for families and providers to help in both the preparation for disasters and the recovery afterwards. The OHS is encouraging Head Start and Early Head Start Centers in affected areas to open their doors to those who have been displaced. Some centers are providing Head Start services to children ages 0 to 5 who have been affected by the storm. Centers are encouraged to help meet the basic needs of those affected to the greatest extent that they are able.
Here are additional helpful resources:
- The OHS has developed an Information Memorandum for providers to help meet the social-emotional needs of children affected by the storm.
- The OHS has created a set of disaster recovery resources for families affected by the storm.
- OHS has made available information about disaster recovery for programs, as well.
- The OCC has created an emergency response resource page that includes information regarding flexibility of spending Child Care and Development Funds (CCDF) in response to federal or state emergency declarations, reimbursement for child care services during a federal or state emergency, and a FEMA fact sheet on public assistance for child care services during a disaster. States are reminded of the great flexibility of CCDBG, which can be used during disasters to help families and providers retain child care subsidies and keep children in programs during an already disruptive time.
It will take the cities and towns hit by Superstorm Sandy months, if not years, to fully recover. Fortunately, resources and assistance are available to help families and children. Our thoughts are with all of those affected by the hurricane as they begin to recover physically, mentally, and emotionally.