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Enhancing Preparedness and Response Capabilities for Early Learning Providers and Families

December 01, 2022



Child Care Aware® of America launched the Enhancing Preparedness and Response Capabilities for Early Learning Providers, Families, and Children project in 2019 to assist a group of Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agencies within a 10-state Midwest area with increasing the likelihood that  child care providers, families, communities, and the CCR&Rs themselves are better prepared for disasters. This project, which concluded in 2021, was the second phase of a larger initiative that began in 2016.  Through this multi-year work, CCR&Rs strengthen their ability to serve as resilience hubs that reduce, and possibly prevent, the suffering of people affected by disasters—especially those most vulnerable. This work, focused on both the local and state level, has amplified the voice of child care and the strength of CCR&R agencies who are building local resilience, relationships, and expertise before, during, and long after a disaster occurs.  

 CCR&Rs are a constant presence in local communities and serve as a resource for child care providers and families. Through proper training and technical assistance, CCR&Rs are well-poised to offer information and timely resources to child care providers, families, and the community focused on children in disasters.   


Project Details 

In June 2019, Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) launched an extensive 2 ½ yr. project in four Midwest states (Montana, Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma) with the purpose of alleviating the suffering of children during and after disasters. The project promoted cross-sector collaboration by ensuring first responders, secondary responders, emergency managers, business leaders, and elected officials recognize the needs of children and the child care workforce before, during, and after disaster.    

Many lessons were learned during that time that can be shared with other child care emergency preparedness, response, and recovery stakeholders. CCAoA created a report to showcase the successes, offer lessons learned, and highlight opportunities to put the information into practice. 

The report focuses on the three overarching project outcomes, including 1. Training, Technical Assistance, and Resources; 2. Relationship Building; and 3. Disaster Ready CCR&Rs. It highlights partnerships that supported the work as well as examples of actions taken by participating CCR&Rs. You can view the report here. 


Taking Action 

"Helping Emergency managers, Health Departments, funders, providers, Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) groups, and others better understand the field of early care and education can improve support in future disasters. This will be helpful as we continue to work toward sustained partnerships that support this type of work. "    -CCR&R staff 

The report offers ideas to help build partnerships to support child care providers with emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. CCR&Rs can use those ideas as a starting point to increase partnerships in their communities, as well as strengthen their own emergency preparedness.  

A similar project, Disaster Ready Child Care Systems, began in June 2022 to continue to strengthen emergency preparedness, response, and recovery in additional states within the Midwest and Plains region of the country. 

For more information, email or visit  



Topics: Best Practices, Health & Safety, emergency preparedness

Julie Looper Coats

Written by Julie Looper Coats

Julie Looper Coats serves as the Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response at Child Care Aware® of America. Her professional service includes work as Senior Program Analyst for the Medical Reserve Corps project at the National Association of County and City Health Officials in Washington, D.C., where she supported Public Health Preparedness efforts across the country. Julie also has experience in emergency preparedness and response at the local level, working at the Oklahoma City – County Health Department from 2010-2014, where she managed the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps during several severe weather deployments, as well as provided support during the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and other large-scale events. Julie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Emergency and Disaster Management.