Sharing information to protect and support children and youth in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria


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

The Children’s Defense Fund – Texas and Children’s Defense Fund – Southern Regional Office are 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 works relentlessly to ensure a level playing field for all children.

This newsletter is published to help families and communities in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands recovering from Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria protect and support children and youth.  Please, share this information widely and let us know of additional resources. 

If you have questions, wish to share articles, or have suggestions email us at  Thank you for remembering the most vulnerable among us as recovery begins.

© Photo - NBC News 


Tips and Books to Help Kids Recover from the Hurricanes by Psychology Today. 

LeadingAge and National Church Residences launched a “Hurricane Services for Seniors Hotline” to triage and help match people needing assistance, particularly older adults and people with disabilities. Call 844-259-4747, Monday – Friday, 8 am - 5 pm ET.

Hurricanes can be “a disaster on top of a disaster” for people of color and people living in poverty. This CNN article captures discrepancies in the recovery efforts post Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria.  

Read and share Disaster Recovery Updates from the National Law Income Housing Coalition
Find information about efforts to restore affordable housing after natural and man-made disasters.

Hurricane Harvey Resources

© Photo - Tim Fadek, CNN


Don’t Wait to Clean Debris. FEMA instructs households to clean up debris and not wait for FEMA home inspectors or flood insurance inspectors. More than 87,000 flood insurance claims have been filed with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  Even though FEMA has deployed more than 2,000 inspectors, it may take up to 30 days for an inspector to reach someone’s home. 

© Photo - CNN 

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services: Resources/How to Help:

Free help line: Optum is offering a free emotional-support help line to impacted individuals. The toll-free number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary. The service is free of charge and open to anyone. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources. Along with the toll-free help line, emotional-support resources and information are available online at

Starting Monday, the last seven schools of the Houston Independent School District will reopen for students.  All seven schools will provide transportation and free meals.

Additional resources:

© Photo - Carlos Giusti

More places to donate:

Hurricane Irma Resources

© Photo - Jessica Rinaldi, Boston Globe

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that households who may not normally be eligible under the regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps) rules may qualify for D-SNAP -- if their income is under the disaster limits and they have qualifying disaster-related expenses. D-SNAP eligible households in the affected areas will receive two months of benefits, equivalent to the maximum amount of benefits normally issued to a SNAP household of their size. Find more about Florida’s D-SNAP program. 

Teams made up of FEMA disaster specialists are working in Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, and McIntosh counties to give residents an opportunity to register for disaster assistance. They are also working to identify and address immediate and emerging needs.

The Florida Division of Emergency Assistance reported more than 500 FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSAT) are currently active across all 48 Individual Assistance (IA) declared counties. They have visited more than 6,460 homes, interacted with more than 5,600 survivors and registered more than 3,200 survivors for IA. DSATs visit disproportionately impacted communities to offer individuals in-person, case specific assistance and guidance for registering for IA and accessing available resources.

Shout out to Trinity Church Miami, our Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program partner, for its contributions to the post hurricane recovery. Over the last two weeks, its volunteers, many of whom are CDF Freedom Schools servant leader interns, assisted more than 10,000 people in the Miami-Dade County area.

© Photo - Linda Freeman Trinity Church Miami

More places to donate:

  1. Donate to the Hurricane Irma Community Recovery Fund.
  2. Give through Global Giving to help affected in the Caribbean. After ensuring emergency response is covered, this fund will shift to longer term reconstruction.
  3. Support women living in temporary shelters by donating to Support the Girls

Miami Dade County

Visit recovery website to find the latest information (FEMA assistance, transit, tolls, animal services…) about recovery and cleanup efforts in the Miami-Dade County

Hurricane Maria Resources

water juggs.jpg
© Photo - Hector Retamal, AFP, Getty

Hurricane Maria has devastated Puerto Rico and its residents of whom more than 700,000 are children. In this Vox article find out more about the disaster and post-hurricane recovery.

The main page for up-to-date resources and information on the federal response to Hurricane Maria.

The Hispanic Federation is designating 100 percent of its Hurricane Relief Fund to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. To donate via text, compose a new text message for number 41444. Type UNIDOS (space) YOUR AMOUNT (space) and YOUR NAME. (For example: Unidos 100 John Doe) Then press "send" and click on the link to complete your donation. To donate in person, visit any Popular Community Bank branch (account name: Hurricane Relief Effort; checking account number: 6810893500).

In the Virgin Islands prior to Hurricane Maria, HUD indicated that displaced public housing families receiving tenant protection vouchers from the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) would need to be able to work with housing authority staff for in-person program briefings. Prior to Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico, HUD was considering relocating families to shelters in San Juan. It is unclear now where these families can be relocated.  Additionally, VIHA has not successfully contacted the approximately 1,300 existing voucher families in their program, but will continue their efforts. Given funding restrictions, VIHA cannot use public housing funds to assist existing voucher holders with relocation if these families need to move either on or off the island.

© Photo - Linda Freeman, Trinity Church Miami


Tips for Parents: Helping Kids Cope with Hurricane Harvey” (from Save the Children)

How To Help Your Children Cope After Hurricane Harvey” (from Forbes)

Talking to Children about Disasters” with additional resources  (from the American Academy of Pediatrics)

Taking Care of Yourself during Disasters: Info for Parents” with additional resources (from the American Academy of Pediatrics) 

Resources in Spanish

This is the fourth newsletter in the series. Below please find the links to the previous three containing important and still relevant information for people affected by the hurricanes and those who want to help them.

Hurricane Harvey Newsletter 9/7
Hurricane Harvey and Irma Newsletter 9/14
Hurricane Harvey and Irma Newsletter 9/21

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