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Reunification: Caring for Children in a Disaster (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


What is Reunification?

Reunification is the process of ensuring that children return to the care of their parent(s) and family as quickly as possible after an emergency.

The vast majority of parents in the United States work outside the home. An estimated 69 million children in the United States are in school or child care on any given weekday. Emergencies increase the possibility for children to become separated from their parents or legal guardians. During the evacuation or sheltering process, parents may find that they are at work and their children are in child care, school, a recreational facility, or other location.

How to Reunite with Your Children

A family emergency plan will have important information, such as phone numbers, emergency contacts, and multiple meeting places. School and childcare centers will also have emergency plans in place to reunite children with their loved ones following an emergency.

Until families are reunited after an emergency, it is important to stay informed of emergency warnings and updates. Social media will play a key role in providing information, and children who use social media can use functions on Facebook, for example, to let their loved ones know they are safe.

It may be necessary to use additional reunification resources, such as the American Red Cross’ Reconnecting Families program, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s 24-hour hotline, or FEMA’s information page for reunification systems/

To read more of the CDC post, please click here.

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