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Emergency Preparedness and Response

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act requires a disaster preparedness and response plan that contains specific elements. The purpose of this requirement is to help ensure that early childhood programs support children's healthy growth and development, especially in the event of a disaster or emergency. The availability of child care following a disaster prevents children from being left alone or in unsafe environments, and can help expedite recovery efforts by ensuring that children are safe while parents access public benefits, visit damaged property, and make other efforts to rebuild their lives. Child care is a critical human service that helps protect children’s safety and support family stability after a disaster.

Planning and preparation for emergency and disaster are important for these reasons:

  • Planning minimizes the likelihood of injuries and death of children who are particularly vulnerable in disasters
  • Preparation can minimize psychological impact (trauma) and promote resilience in children and adults, in addition to promoting continuity of care
  • Planning and preparation may reduce revenue lost and child care provider liability
  • Child care is a vital service to the community: the speed at which child care is able to recover affects the overall recovery of the community

Implementation of the CCDBG Act requires states to demonstrate in their CCDF Plans how they will address the needs of children in child care services provided through CCDF, including the need for safe child care before, during, and after a state of emergency declared by the governor or a major disaster or emergency as defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122). [2]

States must do the following:

  1. Develop a statewide child care disaster plan with key partners.
  2. Describe how required components of the plan are met:
    1. Requirements for providers, including training and practice drills
    2. Coordination of post-disaster recovery of child care services
    3. Guidelines for continuation of child care subsidies and child care services

A statewide child care disaster plan, separate from the state’s continuity-of-operations plan (state-level plans developed to assure the continued performance of essential functions under a broad range of circumstances), must be developed for coordination of activities and collaboration among state agencies and other key partners.

The following agencies are required to be involved in the development of this plan:

  1. State human services agency
  2. State emergency management agency
  3. State Lead Agency
  4. State child care licensing agency
  5. State health department or public health department
  6. Local and state child care resource and referral (CCR&R) agencies
  7. The State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care

The child care disaster plan must address the following components for providers serving children in CCDF child care services:

✔️ Evacuation, relocation, shelter-in-place, and lockdown procedures

✔️ Procedures for communication and reunification with families

✔️ Continuity of operations

✔️ Accommodation of infants and toddlers, children with disabilities, and children with chronic medical conditions

CCDBG Act of 2014 658E(c)(2)(U) and Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. § 98.16(aa) (2016).


States must also identify requirements for staff and volunteer emergency preparedness training and practice drills.

In addition, the statewide child care disaster plan must provide guidelines for the continuation of child care services, including, but not limited to, provision of emergency and temporary child care services, and temporary operating standards for child care providers.


[1] CCDBG Act of 2014 658E(c)(2)(U) and Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. § 98.16(aa) (2016).

[2] Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Sec.102 (42 U.S.C. § 5122).