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November 2009Vol. 10, No. 9Be Prepared for Disasters

Both natural and manmade disasters have raised awareness about the need for fully developed disaster preparedness plans within child welfare agencies. The Annie E. Casey Foundation has developed a resource guide for child welfare agencies to prepare for these events. Gathering research and expert opinion, the resource guide presents practical information for State and Tribal agencies to use in developing their plans for disasters and integrating some of the preparation work into everyday child welfare work.

After presenting a 10-point checklist agencies can use to assess their preparedness for disaster, recommendations are given in three areas:

  • Mitigation and preparedness
  • Response
  • Recovery

Each of the 27 chapters begins with a scenario of a possible disaster and how it would affect a child welfare agency, for instance, "Suppose wild fires destroy two child welfare agencies and all of their records" or "Suppose foster families evacuate because of a natural disaster and then run out of money," followed by a listing of likely obstacles, recommendations, and resources. An appendix includes information about pandemic disaster, as well as an index of resources.

Disaster Preparedness Resource Guide for Child Welfare Agencies, by Rebecca Berne, is available on the Annie E. Casey website: (492 KB)