In honor of remembering one of the greatest tragedies to hit our country, September 11th, it is important for us as a country to protect some of the most vulnerable citizens of all: Our children.
Please read the post below and learn more on what we as a nation can do to ensure that no children are forgotten in times of tragedy. Also, please share on Facebook and twitter with your friends and family. This is something we can all work together to easily change.
Last week Save the Children released their 2013 National Report Card on Protecting Children in Disasters, a study showing where our nation is at when it comes to protecting children in times of emergencies. The report titled “Unaccounted For: A National Report Card on Protecting Children in Disasters” comes after a heartbreaking year of disasters and tragedies such as the elementary school massacre at Sandy Hook as well as the Hurricane Sandy and Oklahoma tornado. Unfortunately, the report clearly demonstrates that we have a long way to go in protecting our children against disaster.
Out of the four standards that states must implement to protect children in the face of disaster – (1)states must require all schools and child care centers to have an evacuation and (2) relocation plan, (3) a family reunification plan and (4) a plan for children with special needs – only four states took action to meet all standards this year. Furthermore, 28 states still lack basic measures to safeguard children in child care and schools. It is apparent that something needs to be done.
Per Save the Children, “this past year showed our country how disaster can strike anywhere at any time – and how vulnerable our children can be.
- 2012 was the second costliest year of U.S. disaster destruction on record, and Hurricane Sandy uprooted many thousands of families.
- Children lost their lives in high-profile school tragedies, including the Oklahoma tornadoes and the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary school.
- Save the Children’s new disaster report card finds glaring gaps in our nation’s ability to protect children from disaster.
- The report finds that more than half the states – 28 plus DC— still fail to meet minimum standards on protecting children in schools and child care centers.
- These standards were recommended by the National Commission on Children and Disasters after Katrina. It’s unacceptable that so many states have yet to take action.
- Any given workday, 68 million children are separated from their parents. We must demand action to protect these children, because you never know when disaster can strike.
Source: Save the Children
Some of the stories about our unpreparedness for disaster are utterly heartbreaking. After Katrina, it took six months for one child to be relocated with her family. Other families searched frantically for their children after Sandy Hook having no idea where to look for their child. These kinds of tragedies should never happen. Although we cannot change catastrophic events from impacting our children, we can change how we handle them.
Save the Children is leading a nationwide program called “Get Ready. Get Safe” to ensure that families and communities are prepared and children are protected in the aftermath of a disaster. Here are some of the details of what we can do as a nation to protect our children.
What we can do to help:
I’m amazed how easy it is to make a difference in the world. Here are some steps you can take to see where your state fares on disaster planning for children and next are some steps you can take to influence change.
- Check out this map here from Save the Children showing where your state fares in terms of meeting all the four essential requirements.
- If your state is not within the four states that meet the requirements you can take less than two minutes of you time by filling out Save the Children’s letter to your governor here. All you have to do is fill in the blanks and push “submit”.
- Get checklists to see what your family, school or child care center can do to better protect children.
- Donate to the cause and help protect children before, during and after disaster.
Too often people get inspired to take action only after the worst happens. Our children’s safety cannot wait. September is National Preparedness Month and kids are going back to school now, so take this opportunity to do something now that can save children later.
My daughter was in Kindgergarten last year during the horrendous tragedy at Sandy Hook. I cannot even begin to imagine what this was like for parents.
Robbie and Alissa Parker hold a photo of their daughter Emilie. Emilie was killed in the December 14th, 2012 school shooting in Newtown CT. Robbie and Alissa Parker have chosen to honor their daughter Emilie’s memory, by doing everything they can to empower parents and communities to be more prepared in their schools. No one was prepared for what took place at our school. People have a false sense of security and this has to change. For us, it’s a matter of educating that there is more that can be done. You have to ask yourself what if . We all must be empowered to do everything we can to be better prepared to protect our children, shared Alissa Parker.
The bottom-line for the Parkers is their desire to bring about some good from this tragedy. They hope that everyone will join them and Save the Children in making our schools and communities more prepared – doing everything we can to keep our kids safe.
Source: Save the Children
So I did my homework. Where does my home state of Minnesota fare?
I know I will be doing all I can here in Minnesota to ensure that all safety measures are met. I will also be contacting my school and present these findings to our next Parent/Teacher meeting. Together, we can all make a difference.
How Prepared is your State for a Natural Disaster?
It’s shocking and frightening to learn that schools are so poorly prepared for these disasters. I can only suspect things are even worse here in the Andes. Thanks for these reminders.
Hugs from Ecuador,
Yes it is. Hope you are well Kathy. 🙂
I sent the child care provider checklist to the owner of our son’s daycare. It is not required in Maine to have a plan for evacuating children. She said she had started one years ago but never really finished it. She’s going to use the checklist and have a discussion about preparedness at her next local providers meeting. It doesn’t take much to make things happen!
Awesome Jennifer! I am hoping to bring the information to my children’s school. I haven’t pulled all the info together yet except what was in my post. Where did you find the link to the checklist? I must have missed that and would like to use it in my post and also for my children’s school 🙂
What a great post. So thorough. Minnesota definitely has some work to do. North Carolina got 3 out of 4.
Thanks Jennifer. I’m going to print everything out and show it to our school. I can start there and see if I can slowly make change. There are 800 children in my kids elementary school so it is really important to have some procedures in place.