After 9/11, Katrina, and the most recent wildfires, our country is all too familiar with disasters. And though our ability to respond and cope with emergency situations has improved, we must work to protect those most venerable during a time of need.
Children respond differently to disasters than adults and have a unique set of needs in the aftermath. Their dependence on family and structured social networks to protect them from harm is often strained in disaster situations. Because children are developing on many planes, their process for dealing with big and potentially devastating events must be assessed and understood.
Legislation presently before the Senate would create a National Commission on Children and Disasters. Representing bi-partisan appointments of child experts, family services, and emergency management, it will study children's needs in times of disaster and ensure that the systems in place are adapted to those needs.
It is important that children's needs be given special priority in planning for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies and disasters. Please encourage your Senators to support the creation of this commission.