Here is a list of recommendations to specifically help children in the care of Child Protective Services and in foster care affected by the hurricane Harvey, plus links to help children in general to be resilient in the face of this tragedy. Thanks to the Department of Family and Protective Services for sending these suggestions.
To donate items: Rainbow Rooms: Rainbow Rooms are 24/7 resource centers usually located within local Child Protective Services (CPS) offices. In the Rainbow Room, CPS caseworkers can get supplies for children who are victims of abuse or neglect. They need new, unopened supplies such as diapers, baby formula, blankets, school supplies, and toiletries. (Click on the links to Regions 5, 6, 8 and 11 for Rainbow Rooms in the affected area.)
To give money: Please make donations to the Texas Center for Child and Family Studies, a charitable organization that DFPS is partnering with to provide basic needs to assist foster youth and foster families.
Assistance: If your church or organization wants to help with recovery efforts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Helping Children Cope and Recover: DFPS Associate Commissioner for Prevention and Early Intervention Sasha Rasco sent a great set of links on helping children cope with and recover from the trauma of this disaster.
This three-page document identifies common reactions to hurricanes and offers tips for how parents and caregivers can help children and themselves manage and bounce back from traumatic experiences. The printer-friendly format makes it easy to share with families not able to access it online. Many more resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network are available here.
The American Red Cross knows a lot about recovering from natural disasters, including how to help children through an ordeal. The Red Cross recommends concentrating on your child’s emotional needs by asking the child what’s on his or her mind and allowing them to participate in the family’s recovery activities.
The Child Mind Institute offers 12 tips for addressing stress and fostering resilience in the wake of a traumatic event. Preventing or limiting exposure to news coverage is among them. This is especially critical with toddlers and school-age children, as seeing or hearing disturbing events recounted in the media can make them seem ongoing.
Sesame Street offers a variety of videos, tool kits and activities to help children recover from hurricanes. This trustworthy resource also includes tips for parents and caregivers. Find it all on SesameStreet.org.
Finally, the Texas Tribune has compiled this useful guide for Harvey victims seeking assistance and those looking for ways to help.