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National Commission on Children and Disasters

In April 2008, U. S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the selection of Irwin Redlener, M.D., president of the Children’s Health Fund and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, to serve as one of her two appointments to the National Commission on Children and Disasters (NCCD). The NCCD was authorized under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 and signed into law by former President Bush on December 26, 2008.

An independent and bipartisan body of ten members with diverse expertise that is drawn from multiple professions and disciplines related to serving the unique needs of children affected by disasters, the NCCD's purpose was:

  • to conduct a comprehensive study that examines and assesses childen's needs as they relate to preparation for, response to, and recover from all hazards, including major disasters and emergencies;
  • to study a broad range of domestic policy areas related to the needs of children affected by all hazards: physical and mental health, elementary and secondary education, child welfare, child care, housing (including sheltering, intermediate and long-term), evacuation and transportation, juvenile justice, and emergency management;
  • to identify, review and evaluate the lessons learned from past disasters relative to addressing such needs; and
  • to report to the President and Congress on its findings and recommendations to address such needs, including the need for a national resource center on children and disasters, coordination of resources and services, administrative actions, policies, regulations and legislative changes.

The Commission held its first public meeting October 14, 2008 and public meetings were held on a quarterly basis. In April 2009, the NCCD invited respected organizations around the United States, including the Children’s Health Fund, to help inform and shape the work of the Commission by sharing policy, legislative, regulatory, and administrative recommendations as they relate to improving emergency preparedness, response, and recover for children under the age of 18. Through this effort, the NCCD hoped to help identify persistent “gaps” in public programs and policies, where the unique needs of children must be elevated in the minds of policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels.

An interim report was delivered to President Obama and Congress in October 2009. The final report was delivered to the President and Congress on October 6, 2010. (Download the PDF file 1.2MB)

The Commission closed April 29, 2011 having fulfilled its Congressionaly established mission to deliver two reports to the President and Congress on the state of children's planning for disasters in the U.S. and ways to improve this.

Though the NCCD is gone, CHF will continue to advocate for the NCCD's recommendations and to work on ways to serve children in disasters better.