Children as Bellwethers of Recovery: Establishing a Child-Centric Disaster Recovery Index

Lead PI: Dr. Irwin Redlener

Unit Affiliation: National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP)

January 2020 - December 2021
North America ; Texas ; North Carolina ; Puerto Rico
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: Disaster resiliency is in part reflected by the speed and completeness of recovery after a disastrous event. This is true for both individuals and communities. An ineffective or delayed recovery may bode poorly in terms of future outcomes for communities and individuals, especially children. We suggest that with a research-backed index tool to assess essential components of disaster recovery, a given community could better prioritize and organize recovery efforts, improving upon the status quo ad hoc, often disorganized, approach.

Children, as the bellwethers of recovery, are a particularly important priority but chronically underserved after disasters, and their future development is especially vulnerable to negative consequences from prolonged disruption and instability. An index for assessing and prioritizing the ongoing needs of children post-disaster can be built by cross-referencing recovery indicator data from ongoing and longitudinal studies in disaster-affected communities of Texas, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico. The identified indicator points (e.g. housing, school attendance) can then be assessed for applicability to all-hazard disasters. The end objective is to produce an All Hazards Recovery Index for Children in US Disasters that designates the essential elements of effective child-focused recovery and aids policy makers and elected officials in determining recovery funding priorities.