The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is responsible for Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response activities within the Department of Health and Human Services. Before, during, and after disasters, ACF Region VI works with federal, state, local, tribal and non-governmental organization partners, including grantees and contractors. Our goal is to ensure that human service needs are met through a coordinated system of federal and state assistance.
The Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR) provides national leadership in human services preparedness and response while promoting self-sufficiency of individuals, families and special needs populations prior to, during and after disasters.
Our Role in Emergency Preparedness and Response
The Emergency Support Function 6 (ESF-6) Annex in the National Response Framework defines human services as:
- Including the implementation of disaster assistance programs to help disaster victims recover their non-housing losses,
- including programs to replace destroyed personal property,
- help to obtain disaster loans, food stamps, crisis counseling, disaster unemployment, disaster legal services, support and services for special needs populations,
- other federal and state benefits
HHS supports ESF-6 activities and is responsible for ESF-8, public health and medical services. Activities include:
- Technical Assistance on Federal Rules: Provide technical assistance to states, tribes, and local governments on federal human services programs and potential waivers or flexibilities that HHS can provide during a disaster to expedite benefits.
- Continuity of Benefits for Clients: Work with states, tribes, and other entities to ensure continuity of services to current human services clients.
- Assist States with New Enrollees: Work with states, tribes, and other entities who are hosting relocated populations or evacuees with human services needs.
- Special Needs Populations: Work with states, tribes, FEMA, the American Red Cross and other voluntary agencies and entities to address special needs populations in shelters or other displaced persons. This may include Shelter Assessment Teams who visit shelters and assist with immediate needs of residents.
- Subject Matter Expert Teams: Provide human services subject matter expert and technical assistance teams who can be deployed to support states, tribes, and other entities.
- Human Services Partnerships: Build relationships with states, tribes, grantees, local governments, Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (VOADS, and Voluntary Agency Groups (VOLAGs) to address human services preparedness and response.
- Assistance in Planning & Preparedness: Our regional staff can provide technical assistance and support to tribal, state, and local governments and other organizations in their preparedness planning efforts.
- Disaster Distress Helpline providing 24/7 support for disaster survivors
- National Hurricane Center
- Ready.Gov Hurricane Page
- Ready.Gov, Spanish
- Ready.Gov, Kids
Region 6 State Emergency Management Agencies
ACF Emergency Preparedness Information
- Child Welfare Disaster Preparedness
- Runaway and Homeless Youth: Ready for Anything: A Disaster Planning Manual for Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs
- Office of Child Care Emergency Response Resources
- Head Start Emergency Preparedness
Federal Health and Human Services Agencies Emergency Preparedness Information
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Administration on Aging
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Indian Health Service
- National Institutes of Health
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Resources for Families
- National Center for Child Traumatic Stress: Family Preparedness: Thinking Ahead
- Department of Homeland Security: Ready.gov
- Helping Children Cope With Crisis: A Guide for African American Parents
Resources for Children and Disasters
- Save the Children: Children in Emergencies Planning Guide
- National Association of School Psychologists: Coping with Crisis - Helping Children with Special Needs
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Emergency Preparedness for Children with Special Health Care Needs
- U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: Helping Children Cope with Crisis: A Guide for African American Parents
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Ready for Anything: A Disaster Planning Manual for Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs
Resources for the Hearing Impaired
- U.S. National Weather Service: Emergency Warnings for People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Special-needs NOAA Weather Radio for deaf and hard-of-hearing persons
- American Association of the Deaf-Blind: What to Do In an Emergency
Resources for the Visually Impaired
- American Council of the Blind: Emergency Preparedness and People who are Blind or Visually Impaired
- American Council of the Blind: Emergency Preparedness for Your Service Animal or Pet (PDF, 100 KB)
Resources for Older Americans
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Disaster Planning Tips for Older Adults and their Families (PDF, 105 KB)
- American Red Cross: Emergency Preparedness for Seniors
- U.S. Administration on Aging: Emergency Assistance Guide (PDF, 81 KB)
- International Longevity Center, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine: Emergency Preparedness for Older People (PDF, 70 KB)
- U.S. Administration on Aging: Just In Case: Emergency Readiness for Older Adults and Caregivers (PDF, 874 KB)
- U.S. Fire Administration, FEMA: Older Adults and Fire (PDF, 131 MB)
Resources for Disabled Individuals
- DisasterAssistance.gov: Access to Disaster Help and Resources
- DisabilityPreparedness.gov: Disability Preparedness
- National Fire Protection Association: Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities (PDF, 900 KB)
- Departmental Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Transportation: Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities
- National Organization on Disability: Emergency Preparedness Initiative (EPI)
- National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Emergency Preparedness: Addressing the Needs of People with Disabilities (PDF, 900 KB)
- Center for Disability Issues and the Health Professions, Western University of Health Sciences: Evacuation Preparedness Guide
- U.S. Fire Administration, FEMA: Fire Safety for People with Disabilities
- Ready.gov: People with Disabilities and Other Special Needs
- National Fire Protection Association: People with Disabilities
- American Red Cross: Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and Other Special Needs (PDF, 731 KB)
- U.S. Fire Administration, FEMA: Removing the Barriers: A Fire Safety Fact Sheet for People with Disabilities and their Caregivers (PDF, 470 KB)
- U.S. Access Board: Resources on Emergency Evacuation and Disaster Preparedness
Amy Grissom, LMSW, ACF Regional Emergency Management Specialist