Health Services Management

Children and Youth Task Force in Disasters: Guidelines for Development

Children and youth are at heightened risk in disasters and public health emergencies. In an effort to meet the challenge of addressing the complex needs of children, youth, and families in disasters, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR) and partners from across the nation developed a model. It was designed to bring 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. The Children and Youth Task Force model has emerged as a promising practice to promote effective coordination of these diverse systems and agencies.

The Children and Youth Task Force model has been successfully implemented in recent disasters such as the 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado and the 2012 hurricanes Sandy and Isaac. The design brings together Whole Community child- and youth-serving agencies, organizations and professionals in a single forum. Participants include the schools, child care providers, Head Start programs, pediatric health and behavioral health providers, recreation groups, community- and faith-based organizations, child welfare authorities, emergency management, social services, family violence prevention and services, public health authorities, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOADs), and other governmental, nonprofit, and private sector partners.

The guidelines in this document are designed to introduce state and local partners to the task force concept, and to outline ways ACF is ready to assist and support in task force formation and its work. Explore the Children and Youth Task Force in Disasters: Guidelines for Development [PDF, 499KB] for information about planning considerations, the task force development process, recommendations for potential partners, and review four examples of this model in action.

Two additional useful resources are:

Infant Feeding During Disasters 
An infographic encouraging breastfeeding during disaster.

How high is your family's risk in a disaster? 
An infographic depicting your family's risk in a disaster.

For additional information and resources visit the Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response