Save the Children

Sep 4, 2012

When Disaster Strikes, Is Your State Ready?


Every working day, the safety of nearly 68 million U.S. children is in the hands of school officials and caregivers. Most parents assume that when they drop their kids off for the day, they will be safe if disaster strikes. But two-thirds of our nation’s states do not require basic emergency preparedness regulations for child care facilities and schools.

For the fifth consecutive year, Save the Children assesses all 50 states and the District of Columbia on four basic disaster preparedness and safety standards for children in child care and at school.

In addition to evaluating every state’s basic emergency preparedness for children, this year’s report highlights a critical standard which every state should have in place to address the needs of the most vulnerable children attending child care—infants and toddlers, as well as children with disabilities and those with access or functional needs. More than half of the states fail to account for these children in their emergency preparedness plans.

The Results Are In: 

  • Over the last five years, the number of states meeting all four standards has increased from four in 2008 to 17 in 2012.
  • While 17 states now meet all four basic preparedness standards; 33 states and the District of Columbia still do not.
  • Twenty-seven states do not require all regulated child care facilities to have a plan that accounts for kids with disabilities and those with access and functional needs.
  • Five states—Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan and Montana—fail to meet any of the preparedness standards for regulated child care facilities or schools, putting many children at risk.

“We as a nation have a moral obligation to protect the most vulnerable during disasters. Children—especially those who are too young to protect themselves or who have disabilities that require additional assistance—are counting on us to ensure their safety and well-being. And yet, more than half of the states’ emergency preparedness regulations fail to account for the needs of those who are most at risk of injury and neglect. That’s simply unacceptable.” 

– Mark Shriver, Senior Vice President, Save the Children’s U.S. Programs.



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Project Leader

Penelope Crump

Westport, CT United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Save the Children