The United States is among the top five countries in the world that are most affected by natural disasters, with an average of over 20 natural disasters per year from 2010-2020. Approximately 14 percent of children and youth have experienced at least one natural disaster prior to age 18 and the majority of children and youth have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the circumstances surrounding natural disasters and COVID-19 are different, the physical and emotional impacts on children, youth, and families can be similar.
Young people are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of natural disasters, and those who are involved in the child welfare and/or juvenile justice systems are at particularly high risk for experiencing disaster-related traumatic stress and other mental health and behavioral challenges. However, all children and youth have the capacity for resilience and healing when they receive the right types of supports.
These toolkits are for child welfare and juvenile justice staff, supervisors, and administrators who work with and on behalf of children, youth, and families who experience a natural disaster. The information and resources included in the toolkits provide evidence- and trauma-informed guidance for promoting positive outcomes for children and youth who experience natural disasters.
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