Report: Washington stands prepared to help children during disasters

July 24, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. July 24, 2010

Washington ranks as a national leader for protecting children during disasters, a national child advocacy group announced Wednesday.

Save the Children — a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization — lauded the Evergreen State for taking steps to protect children. The state developed plans to evacuate childcare centers, reunite children with their families, account for children with special needs during disasters and develop evacuation plans for schools.

“Washington is a national leader in protecting the most vulnerable Washingtonians in the most vulnerable settings,” Mark Shriver, U.S. programs senior vice president for Save the Children, said in a news release. “I hope other states will follow Washington’s example.”

Washington met the criteria for the first time. But 38 states and Washington, D.C., did not meet the four standards.

The effort stems from a 2009 report commissioned by Save the Children and conducted by Brown Buckley Tucker — a Vermont-based consultant —  to assess disaster preparedness in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Washington has improved since last year; the state met only a single criterion then.

Save the Children worked with the state Department of Early Learning to include the three protections for children in childcare centers.

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