Children in disaster relief: A review of best practices

Jennifer Baggerly, Cortney Taylor, Annette M. La Greca

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Every year, millions of children throughout the world experience devastating disasters such as floods, earthquakes, fires, drought, war, or terrorism. The desperate cries of these children compel disaster relief workers to respond with effective and developmentally appropriate strategies. The purpose of this chapter is three fold. First, it provides rationale for developing specific policies and procedures for children in disaster relief. Children should be accommodated because they are uniquely vulnerable, their short term trauma responses can be highly disruptive, their long term consequences are devastating and burdensome to society, and standard adult interventions are not conducive to children. Second, guiding principles for disaster relief workers are identified from a review of the literature. These principles include expectation of normal recovery, reunifying and supporting families, flexibility and hardiness of disaster workers, and developmentally appropriate views of children. Third, best practice recommendations are identified as (a) disaster shelter policies and procedures for agency collaboration, safety, and designated spaces and (b) psychosocial interventions during immediate impact, short-term, and long-term phases of disasters. Information was derived from a search of outcome research in professional literature and expert consensus from the National Commission on Children and Disasters (2009), National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2010), and National Institute of Mental Health (2002).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDisaster Relief
Subtitle of host publicationOrganizations, Speed and Efficiency of Response and Roles
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781617618833
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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