Instructions for identifying and protecting displaced children
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Instructions for identifying and protecting displaced children

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      September 28, 2005, 19:33 EDT (07:33 PM EDT) CDCHAN-00236-05-09-28-ADV-N Rapid identification and protection of displaced children (less than 18 years) is imperative in order to reduce the potential for maltreatment, neglect, exploitation, and emotional injury. A critical aspect of pediatric disaster response is effectively addressing the needs of children who have been displaced from their families and legal guardians. The separation of children from significant others is a recognized factor influencing the psychological responses of children after a disaster. Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing floods and chaos have caused over 3,000 children to be displaced throughout the United States. These children may be unaccompanied or accompanied by adults who are not their legal guardians. All medical clinics and shelters providing care to child survivors of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina should immediately implement appropriate child-safety measures in direct response to this crisis. Initiatives such as “Operation Child ID” implemented in Camp Gruber Oklahoma have provided a rapid, systematic protocol for successfully identifying and protecting displaced children. CDC has reviewed this protocol and considers it to be a useful resource to share with its partners to promote a safer and healthier environment for displaced children in shelters.
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