Preparedness, Response and Recovery Considerations for Children and Families is the summary of a workshop convened in June, 2013 by the Institute of Medicine Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events to discuss disaster preparedness, response, and resilience relative to the needs of children and families, including children with special health care needs. Traditional and non-traditional medical and public health stakeholders from across federal, state, and local government health care coalitions, community organizations, school districts, child care providers, hospitals, private health care providers, insurers, academia, and other partners in municipal planning met to review existing tools and frameworks that can be modified to include children’s needs; identify child-serving partners and organizations that can be leveraged in planning to improve outcomes for children; highlight best practices in resilience and recovery strategies for children; and raise awareness of the need to integrate children’s considerations throughout local and state emergency plans.
Communities across the United States face the threat of emergencies and disasters almost every day, natural and man-made, urban and rural, large and small. Although children represent nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population, current state and local disaster preparedness plans often do not include specific considerations for children and families. The preparedness and resilience of communities related to children will require a systems framework for disaster preparedness across traditional and non-traditional medical and public health stakeholders, including community organizations, schools, and other partners in municipal planning. This report examines resilience strategies that lead to successful recovery in children after a disaster and discusses current approaches and interventions to improve recovery in children.