Children's Disaster Services

Nurturing children

Please help us make Individual Kits of Comfort!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, CDS volunteers are not able to deploy to care for children after disasters. As an alternative to in-person care, the Individual Kit of Comfort (IKOC) was created to promote a sense of normalcy and an opportunity for the healing power of play. More are needed! Will you help us? Any amount is welcome: make just a few or go together with others to make many! Click here to learn more. For further information, contact lcrouch@brethren.org.


 Since 1980 Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has been meeting the needs of children by setting up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers across the nation.  Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, volunteers provide a calm, safe and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires any natural or human caused disaster. 

View and register for CURRENT WORKSHOPS

Volunteers from across the country

  • participate in specialized experiential training
  • undergo a rigorous screening process
  • learn to work with children after a disaster
  • are capable of mobilizing rapidly and responding both locally and nationally. 

Volunteers arrive to a disaster location with a “Kit of Comfort” containing carefully selected toys that promote imaginative play. Volunteers give children individualized attention and encourage them to express themselves, thereby starting the healing process. Although many volunteers are motivated by faith, CDS’ training is open to anyone over 18 years old. 

CDS provides respite, education and individualized consultation for parents about their child’s unique emotional needs after a disaster.  Through consultation or workshops specifically tailored to each situation, CDS also works with parents, community agencies, schools or others to help them understand and meet the special needs of children during or after a disaster.

CDS updates

Bridges is the Brethren Disaster Ministries newsletter published three times a year. It features articles from our Children’s Disaster Services program, as well as our Rebuild program, and international efforts. Learn more about the Bridges Newsletter.

 

CDS news

Brethren Disaster Ministries monitors disaster situations, Children’s Disaster Services sends out Individual Kits of Comfort
(August 28, 2020)
Brethren Disaster Ministries is monitoring the situation in Louisiana and Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura as well as the wildfires affecting northern California. Staff are participating in national coordinating calls and communicating with partner organizations to coordinate any response. The initial Church of the Brethren response has begun with Children’s Disaster Services (CDS). The Red Cross activated CDS to deploy 600 Individual Kits of Comfort to aid children and families affected by Hurricane Laura and the California wildfires.


Children’s Disaster Services invites parents to new Facebook group
(August 21, 2020)
“We are ready to welcome new members to the Parent Connection Facebook group,” announced Lisa Crouch, associate director of Children’s Disaster Services, a ministry within Brethren Disaster Ministries. The new Facebook group is found at www.facebook.com/groups/3428257077208792 . Also newly available is a “Parenting in a Pandemic” resource page on the Church of the Brethren website at https://covid19.brethren.org/parenting-in-a-pandemic .


Church World Service kit depots to re-open in mid-August
(June 17, 2020)
“CWS is planning to open many of its spring kit depots from Aug. 17-Sept 4!” Brethren Disaster Ministries shared on its Facebook page this week. “Thank you for continuing to care for and send blessings to those affected by disasters. These kits make a real difference!”


More CDS Newsline articles

CDS response locations

View a larger version of CDS Responses 2011-2018 created with eSpatial mapping software.