Within hours of the attack on the World Trade Center, two Children’s Health Fund (CHF) mobile medical units were dispatched to lower Manhattan, bringing medical supplies, personnel and technical assistance to Ground Zero and participating in triage efforts hours after the towers collapsed. Our teams helped set up the respiratory and crisis support units. Subsequently, CHF participated in the emergency triage areas at Chelsea Piers and also provided bilingual counseling and case management services.
Concerned about the lack of planning for the possibility of children being injured by weapons of mass destruction, CHF brought information and expertise to the federal legislative process, ensuring that pediatric concerns and perspectives were appropriately included in the federal bioterrorism legislation.
CHF was also concerned about how children and families were coping with the reality of these attacks and a very uncertain future with respect to ongoing threats. Working closely with the Marist Institute, CHF has been actively engaged in surveying the impact on families in the metropolitan area and nationally. The CHF/Marist Institute polls were the first to document and show how the events of September 11 affected children and families throughout the city, not just in lower Manhattan. These polls were also the first to show that low-income children were the most vulnerable to psychological trauma following the terror attacks.
Dealing with the aftermath of terrorism and helping to ensure that we are as prepared as possible to prevent or manage the consequences of such acts in the future, particularly for children and families already traumatized by poverty and lack of resources has become part of the new, expanded agenda of the Children's Health Fund.