Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
Some 68 million children are separated from their parents every workday. Should a tornado or hurricane strike, or violence rear its head, there’s a chance a whole lot of kids in child care and schools won’t be safe. That’s because a whopping 28 states and the District of Columbia fail to meet basic emergency planning standards for child care centers and schools, according to Save The Children’s 2013 National Report Card on Protecting Children in Disasters.
Released today, the report found that 17 states don’t require child care providers to have an evacuation plan; 16 states don’t require child care providers to have a family reunification plan; 24 don’t require child care providers to have a plan for children with disabilities or with access and functional needs (as in, babies); and 6 states plus the District of Columbia don’t require schools to have a disaster plan that addresses multiple type of hazards.
September is National Preparedness Month, so it’s an especially good time to get a handle on this (also: we’re smack in the middle of Atlantic hurricane season). You can see how your state rates on safety measures on an interactive map at the new site Get Ready. Get Safe.. You’ll also find disaster preparation checklists for your family, school and child care provider—plus you can send a letter to your governor urging better protection for our children.
Since Save the Children started its disaster report card in 2008, the number of states meeting the minimum standards to protect children has increased from four to 22. Clearly, there’s a ways to go—and we can make a difference. Oh, and if you need proof about the importance of preparation, here’s a video about a child care center that was hit by the devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma in May, and saved the children.
Image of child’s bike covered by sand via Shutterstock
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