Resources for Parents and Caregivers in Texas and Louisiana

Photo © Gerald Herbert, AP

Sharing information to protect and support children and youth in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

The Children’s Defense Fund – Texas is committed to raising awareness about the challenges facing children, connecting children and families to resources that help to meet their needs, and working with partners to coordinate broad support to improve the well-being of children. The Children’s Defense Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly to ensure a level playing field for all children.  

This newsletter is published to help families and communities in Texas and Louisiana recovering from Hurricane Harvey protect and support children and youth – to ensure their protection, ease access to basic needs, and provide for their psychosocial development and positive growth through the delivery of health, social, and supportive services.  Please, share this information widely and let us know of additional resources.  We will publish this newsletter each week over the next two months.

Please email CDF-Texas at if you have questions, contributions, or suggestions.  Thank you for remembering the most vulnerable among us as the recovery begins.


Harvey flood evacuee children©AP Photo_David J. Phillip.jpg

© Photo - David J. Phillip, AP

After the Storm – Next Steps:

United Way of Greater Houston has created After the Storm for you to use as a resource toward rebuilding your life. Whether you are trying to provide basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing, or you are struggling with the stress that is a major part of crisis recovery, you will find important and helpful information in this booklet. The 2-1-1 Texas/United Way Helpline is always available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Let 2-1-1 be your first call when you don’t know who to call. Trained HELPLINE specialists are always available to listen to your questions, understand your needs and help you identify resources that are tailored for your specific situation.
A resource guide to help you get back on your feet after the storm by United Way

Keep up-to-date on information after the recovery from the Houston Emergency Operations Center:

How to ensure house is safe for living post Hurricane Harvey?

Cleaning and sanitizing your household after an emergency is important to help prevent the spread of illness and disease.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidance here:
Cleaning and Sanitizing with Bleach after an Emergency by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

When do school closures end?

During the recovery process, not all school districts are able to reopen, creating a critical need for childcare for some parents.  In response, several Houston area organizations are opening their doors to accommodate families. 

Find out when local school districts in Texas will open by reviewing this information from ABC13:
School closings by abc13

Will my child be able to have a meal in school?

The Houston Independent School District announced that all children will eat all school meals for free during the 2017-2018 school year. HISD says the free meals come in the wake of flooding from Hurricane Harvey from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Houston Independent School District’s students will receive three free meals a day for 2017-2018 school year by KHOU

What are my additional childcare options?

During the recovery process, not all school districts are able to reopen, creating a critical need for childcare for some parents.  In response, several Houston area organizations are opening their doors to accommodate families.
Hurricane Harvey childcare options by Grackle and Grackle Writing Enterprises
Houston groups opening doors to kids in wake of Harvey

Where can I get food supplies?

Find a disaster food distribution center site near you or apply for assistance.
Harvey Disaster Relief by Houston Food Bank

My child needs medical attention.

Most Houston area hospitals are ‘up and fully functional’ according to reports:
In Houston, Most Hospitals 'Up And Fully Functional'
Texas Expedites Help From Out-Of-State Health Care Providers by NPR

How can I support children’s well-being?

Natural disasters like floods and hurricanes can cause tremendous upheaval in people's lives.  Learn the signs of stress among children and find ways that you can help children cope and re-establish routines in their lives.
How to help kids recover from a disaster like Hurricane Harvey by CBS


red-cross-shelter©Photo- Daniel Cima_The American Red Cross.

© Photo - Daniel Cima, The American Red Cross

Frequently Asked Health Related Questions

Short Answers to Hard Questions About Health Threats From Hurricane Harvey by New York Times

Do I live close to a toxic site?  

The Houston metropolitan area is home to an immense concentration of chemical and plastic plants, oil and gas refineries, Superfund sites, wastewater discharge treatment plants, and fossil fuel plants.  The majority of these sites were constructed near communities of color.  The Sierra Club is updating a map and reporting on confirmed instances of releases, spills, or accidents.
Toxic sites in the Texas Gulf region by Sierra Club


Victims of flooding(Brendan SmialowskiAFPGet

© Photo - Brendan Smialowski, AFP, Getty Images

The following articles offer guidance on how to help families and children recovering from the floods and dislocation:

How can I best support child welfare and youth supportive service organizations in Houston and the Gulf area that have outstanding needs in serving children and youth?

How to help Texas’ child welfare and youth service programs impacted by Hurricane Harvey by TNOYS (Texas Network of Youth Services)

How can I best help Houston Independent School District’s (HISD) students?

National groups can donate supplies to HISD students and families by HISD News Blog

I want to help communities of color affected by Harvey.

How to Donate Money and Other Aid to Communities of Color in Houston by Colorlines

Dos and don’ts of donating

Houston Does Not Need Your Stuff by Simply Enough


Harvey victims© AP.jpg

© Photo - AP

Children thrive when offered stability and routines.  Dislocation and homelessness creates tremendous stress on children and youth leading to severe emotional distress.  The experience of long-term homelessness inhibits the physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and behavioral development of children.   Our goals is to get families, as quickly as possible, to a safe and stable home.  The following are specific resources to aid displaced or homeless families:

Local Resources and Updates:

Texas Low Income Housing Information Services has a blog post with 5 principles for just and equitable treatment for survivors of Harvey with low incomes

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA’s website devoted to Texas Hurricane Harvey lists the designated areas currently eligible for assistance and a link to apply for federal assistance. 

Housing Counseling toolkits from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Housing Counseling: 

The Office of Housing Counseling is encouraging all housing counseling agencies impacted in Texas and the surrounding region to review the Hurricane Harvey Resource Page for Housing Counselors and the Housing Counseling Disaster Recovery and Emergency Preparedness Toolkit located on the federal website for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD Exchange). It contains disaster recovery and emergency preparedness resources specifically for housing counseling programs. The toolkit provides immediate access to Disaster Recovery Flyers, the Housing Counseling Disaster Program Guide and other HUD, FEMA, and other helpful resources.

Meeting the needs of Homelessness Children and Youth: 

The HUD Exchange has in-depth guides for meeting the needs of people experiencing homelessness disaster response and recovery.

U.S. Department of Agriculture - Rural Development: 

USDA-RD has created a webpage, outlining assistance available after a disaster for displaced residents, owners of USDA-financed multifamily housing, and homeowners with an USDA loan.

Immigration rights and housing:

Lone Star Legal Aid has infographics and information on immigrants’ rights during a disaster.

Department of Justice protects civil rights when accessing emergency, recovery services:

DOJ, Health & Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, and Homeland Security issued joint guidance on August 16 to help ensure that recipients of federal financial assistance do not discriminate against individuals and communities on the basis of race, color or nation of origin when providing emergency preparedness, response and recovery services:

Help in dealing with your housing mortgage payments:

Please email CDF-Texas at if you have questions, contributions, or suggestions.  Thank you for remembering the most vulnerable among us as the recovery begins.

5410 Bellaire Blvd., Suite 203, Bellaire, TX 77401 | Tel: (877) 664-4080
Children's Defense Fund© 2017 All rights reserved.
FOLLOW US: Follow Us on Twitter Join Us on Facebook