Planning an Effective Response for the Next Epidemic — with Children in Mind

Categories:
Child Care, Early Childhood, Emergency Response, Families, Head Start

Photo of young child with a thermometer suffering from a fever.By Amy Grissom, Region VI Regional Emergency Management Specialist

North Central Texas is a "hot spot" for potential emergency events. The proactive staff at the Dallas County Health Department has partnered with the Administration for Children and Families to reach early childhood programs and stakeholders so they can be ready and resilient when emergencies impact them, the families that depend on them, and their communities.

On Feb. 20, we held a joint emergency and influenza preparedness training for more than 100 registrants. Dallas County early childhood programs, such as Head Start and Child Care, were the focus. However, a wide range of local, state and federal stakeholders within HHS Region VI also joined. Participants included mental health, faith based, emergency response and non-profit colleagues. 

In person at the HHS Regional Office and via live webcast, participants learned emergency planning basics and were provided with helpful personal and organizational emergency planning resources. Both early childhood grantees and emergency response staff told me they found the training helpful, plus an important step in being more prepared to meet children’s needs in emergencies.

Dallas County will continue its focus on children's needs in emergencies by convening a local task force to strengthen the focus on children in emergency plans and to leverage resources for children and families during and after emergencies and disasters.