On May 22, 2011, the community of Joplin, Missouri, was struck by one of the deadliest and most destructive tornadoes in American history.
Among the tornado's impacts was severe damage to the city's child care infrastructure--19 child care centers were destroyed and eight others badly damaged, leaving thousands of families in crisis.
ACF’s Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR) and the Regional Administrator (RA)in Kansas City, Missouri took immediate concerted action.
Expert staff deployed to Joplin where they provided consultation and technical assistance to HHS partners on human services issues. They quickly formed the multi-agency Joplin Child Care Task Force. Its members included representatives from Missouri’s health, mental health and social service agencies, ACF’s child care, Head Start and emergency response offices, FEMA, SBA and local nonprofit child care agencies.
The Task Force marshaled every available resource to assure that those families most in need received emergency child care. By September, most of the lost child care slots were restored. Qualified staff addressed the critical behavioral health problems. Long-term efforts to rebuild the child care infrastructure of the Joplin community continue.