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


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 hurricanes to 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 goes forward.


Your Quick Checklist for Helping Children Recover:

  • Try and keep routines as normal as possible. Kids gain security from the predictability of routine, including attending school.
  • Limit exposure to television and the news.

  • Be honest with kids and share with them as much information as they are developmentally able to handle.
  • Listen to kids’ fears and concerns.
  • Parents and adults need to first deal with and assess their own responses to crisis and stress.
  • Involve Children in Recovery — After a hurricane, let children help in clean-up and recovery efforts in age-appropriate ways as this participation may increase their sense of control over the situation.
  • Rebuild and reaffirm attachments and relationships.

Thank for this quick reminder from our friends at the American School Counselor Association. For more resources go to: 

The Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP) provides disaster survivors with information, support, services, and a means to access and apply for disaster assistance through joint data-sharing efforts between federal, tribal, state, local, and private sector partners.

© Photo - NBC News 

The White House is expected to request a new $29 billion disaster aid bill. It includes $16 billion in debt relief for National Flood Insurance Program claims and almost $12.7 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund. Another $577m would go to federal firefighting accounts for spending related to western wildfires. This CBS article has more.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers resources in English, Spanish, Cebuano, and Waray to parents and caregivers on how to assist children and youth to cope with the loss and stress during the recovery process. Read and share Trinka and Sam: The Rainy Windy Day.

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

Harvey relief fund gives out $7.5 million to 28 organizations with focus on temporary housing. More grants are expected next month.

Smithsonian Institution preservation experts help survivors of Hurricane Harvey salvage household treasures damaged by the storm. They will be at State of Texas/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers on October 3 and October 4.

© 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

© Photo - Carlos Giusti

More places to donate:

Hurricane Irma Resources

© Photo - Jessica Rinaldi, Boston Globe

The Florida Division of Emergency Assistance website offers up-to-date information about the recovery process and resources.

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.

© 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 those 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.

Hurricane Maria Resources

© Photo - Hector Retamal, AFP, Getty

Hurricane Maria has devastated Puerto Rico and its residents of whom more than 700,000 are children. Hospitals running on generators are low on power, and conditions on the ground are ripe for the spread of disease. Most of the island is without power and access to food and water is scarce. Recovery has only just begun and no one knows how long it will take.

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

For 350,000 students in Puerto Rico back-to-school starts October 16, or after

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).

Other ways to help:

© Photo - Linda Freeman, Trinity Church Miami


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.

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

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 fifth newsletter in the series. Below please find the links to the previous four 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
Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria Newsletter 9/29

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