Coping With Disasters and Strengthening Systems
All types of disasters require coordinated and thoughtful planning for disaster response and recovery. Disasters are not limited to natural events such as hurricanes or floods, but can include occurrences such as sudden data breaches or system failure, workplace violence, death of an employee, or public health emergencies. When any disaster strikes, child welfare agencies must ensure that they are prepared to continue keeping children safe and providing uninterrupted services under emergency circumstances.
The resources in this series can help agency leaders, managers, and disaster planning and response teams better prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.
Review the Resource Roadmap to Coping With Disasters and Strengthening Systems for brief descriptions of the publications in this series and ideas for how they can be used together to respond to disaster management needs.
Browse the Coping With Disasters and Strengthening Systems Guide to build foundational knowledge about disaster planning, response, and recovery; see examples of real-life strategies from jurisdictions around the country; and begin the process of planning to effectively respond to any disaster.
Explore the suggestions below or those in the roadmap to link to the sections you need for your disaster management work.
Are You Working on Your Agency's Disaster Plan?
Planning for a disaster can make disaster response and recovery faster and smoother. To help your agency proactively prepare for disaster, review the following sections of the Coping With Disasters and Strengthening Systems Guide:
- Assess Agency Preparedness for Disaster
- Develop a Child Welfare Agency Disaster Plan
- Prepare to Manage a Disaster
Use the Planning for Disaster: At a Glance checklist in the guide to facilitate your agency's disaster planning process.
To help your disaster planning team think through the many possible disaster outcomes, use the Disaster Impact Planning Matrix to review activities and questions that can help agencies prepare for common disaster impacts.
The Leading Your Agency Through a Disaster tip sheet has information leaders can use to help their agency prepare for any disaster.
Are You Responding to a Disaster?
Though it is impossible to predict all parts of a disaster response, some disaster response steps are common to many types of disasters. Review the following sections of the Coping With Disasters and Strengthening Systems Guide to access actionable information on common aspects of disaster response:
Use the Responding to Disaster: At a Glance checklist in the guide to facilitate your agency's disaster response no matter where you are in the process of responding to a disaster.
Agency leaders can quickly review the information and examples in Leading Your Agency Through a Disaster tip sheet to guide their agency through a disaster response.
Are You Starting the Process of Disaster Recovery?
After a disaster ends, and often even while it is still occurring, agencies need to start thinking about recovery. Explore the following sections of the Coping With Disasters and Strengthening Systems Guide to begin or continue your agency's recovery from disaster:
Use the Recovering From Disaster: At a Glance checklist in the guide to facilitate your agency's disaster planning process.
The Leading Your Agency Through a Disaster tip sheet lists considerations and actions leaders can take to support their agency's recovery efforts.
Do You Need Information on Collaborating With Youth, Families, Tribes, and Communities on Disaster Management?
Collaboration at all phases of the disaster management process is essential to its success. The following sections of the Coping With Disasters and Strengthening Systems Guide can help agency leaders, managers, and disaster planning and response teams develop effective strategies for engaging and working with key partners over time:
Planning for Disaster
- Collaborate With Families, Youth, and Stakeholders on Disaster Planning
- Collaborate With Tribes on Disaster Planning
- Prepare Families, Youth, and Providers
Responding to Disaster
- Respond to Initial Family and Youth Needs
- Continue Work With Families and Youth on Disaster Response Activities
Recovering From Disaster
The following resources complement Coping With Disasters and Strengthening Systems and provide additional information and strategies agencies can use to plan for, respond to, and recover from disasters.
The following resources provide information on the materials and technologies that can support programs and practice improvements in disaster preparedness.
- Knowledge Management Research: Telework in Child Welfare
Supports child welfare agencies in transferring select operations online and out of a central worksite (Center for States).
- Knowledge Management Research: Virtual Meetings in Child Welfare
Helps child welfare agencies better understand available technologies and best practices for holding virtual meetings (Center for States).
- Inventory of Innovations: Innovations in Software and Technology
Explores ways to use recent developments in software and technology in child welfare to potentially save costs while allowing workers to provide better, more integrated services (Center for States).
- Virtual Visitation Resources
Provides information on the use of virtual visitations in child welfare and other fields (Child Welfare Information Gateway).
The resources below can help agencies develop policies, frameworks, and operating procedures to be more flexible in their response to disaster and disaster planning.
- Caring for Children in a Disaster
Lists information, tools, and additional resources to keep children and families safe during disasters (Centers for Disease Control webpage).
- Knowledge Management Research: Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Communication Planning
Helps child welfare agencies respond to the need to alter practice and communication routines when “normal” child welfare services have been disrupted and better prepare agencies for future disruptions (Center for States).
- Children and Disasters
Provides information and tools to assist families in responding to natural and man-made disasters (American Academy of Pediatrics).
- COVID-19 Resources
Presents current guidance and resources on addressing various parts of the child welfare system and practice impacted by pandemics (Children’s Bureau).
- Coping With Disasters and Strengthening Systems: A Framework for Child Welfare Agencies
Helps managers think through what they might put in place to cope with disasters and highlights how taking these steps can improve systems for serving children and families (National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement, Muskie School of Public Service).
- Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC)
Helps states, territories, tribes, and local providers plan for and respond to behavioral health needs after a disaster (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
Provides information, tools, and resources to support families in the case of natural disasters and help them to address the potential traumatic effects (National Child Traumatic Stress Network).
The following resources can guide child welfare workers at all levels in disaster planning and response, as well as help build an effective organizational climate for disaster preparedness.
- ASPR Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE)
Provides resources to meet the information and technical needs of healthcare and related staff working in the areas of disaster preparedness and response (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
- Becoming a Family-Focused System: Improving Culture Begins With Leaders
Presents strategies to initiate, promote, and sustain improved organizational culture through adaptive leadership and modeling collaboration (Center for States).
- The Child Welfare Worker Safety Guide
Examines current research regarding child welfare worker safety, the laws and policies states have used to address the issue, and the strategies that agencies and workers can use to enhance workers’ safety and well-being in the workplace (Center for States).
- Resource List: Free, Online Training for Child Welfare Staff
Supports the increased need for child welfare staff to be able to receive training virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This resource list identifies organizations that offer training activities with defined learning objectives that may include a range of modalities, such as self-paced e-learnings, webinars, or videos (Capacity Building Center for States and NCWWI).
- Virtual Workforce Supports Resource Collection
Offers resources for child welfare staff to help them work from a home environment safely and effectively (National Child Welfare Workforce Institute).
- Virtually Supervising Child Welfare Professionals During a Pandemic
Offers strategies for virtual supervision to help support staff, encourage team cohesion, and ensure work continuity (National Child Welfare Workforce Institute and QIC-WD).
Constituency groups can help connect child welfare professionals working on disaster preparedness and planning. Visit the Center’s Constituency Group webpage for more information or to join a constituency group to help you plan for coordinating and sharing information with peers and colleagues during disasters.
The Center offers tailored services to states and jurisdictions to help build agency capacity for disaster preparedness and review existing disaster plans to support continuous quality improvement (CQI). For more information contact your State Liaison.
Visit the Center for States Events page to learn about upcoming events focused on building capacity for disaster preparedness.
Connect With Us
Learn how we can help your agency build the capacity to thrive.
Visit the Center for States' Contact Us webpage for more information.