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Children and Youth Task Force in Disasters

Department of Health and Human Services

September 4, 2013


To promote effective coordination of these diverse systems and agencies, a promising practice that has emerged in several recent disasters is the Children and Youth Task Force model. This model, which was successfully implemented in such disparate disasters as the 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado and 2012 Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy, brings together Whole Community child- and youth-serving agencies, organizations, and professionals in a single forum for shared strategic coordination to meet the needs of children and youth. Task forces were used to engage and support vulnerable children, youth, and families after a disaster by restoring critical services to clients, addressing new disaster-caused needs, and supporting longer-term recovery efforts for children and youth.

This document is designed to introduce Whole Community partners to the Disaster Children and Youth Issues Task Force concept. It provides recommendations to states, Tribes, territories, and local communities interested in launching their own task forces, and outlines how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is able to provide support. The guidelines are intended for emergency management, human services, and public health professionals to support a coordinated, integrated, and effective approach to children’s needs in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery.