oaioai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.464.5332

Abstract

There are 75 million children in the United States under the age of 18—25 percent of the population. Accom-modations that must be made for them in disasters were graphically illustrated during the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita, when 5,000 children became separated from their families (Chung and Shannon 2007). Worried relatives made more than 34,000 calls to a special hotline set up by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It took six months for the last child to be reunited with her family. It does not take a great leap of imagination to em-pathize with the emotional turmoil both the children and their families undergo in such circumstances. But this is only one of the unique problems posed in protecting children’s welfare in disasters. Their health care needs are different from adults. They shouldn’t miss school. Juvenile justice, mental health, housing, and other emer-gency services must be tailored to children’s requirements. The bipartisan National Commission on Children and Disasters was established by Congress and then-President George W. Bush in 2007. Its goal is to break the cycle of benign neglect (no one thinks emergency planners and personnel deliberately neglect children). The commission identified gaps in preparedness, response, and recovery for all hazards and emergencies that may affect children across the nation the every day, at scales substantially smaller than the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Once identified, the commission made recommendations to fix them. This past October, the commission delivered its 2010 Report to the President and Congres

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oaioai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.464.5332Last time updated on 10/28/2017

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