U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today introduced legislation to ensure that children are adequately protected when an emergency arises.
The Homeland Security for Children Act requires the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to solicit input from organizations representing the needs of children and take into consideration those unique needs when developing Department-wide policies and specifically when the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) is developing emergency preparedness plans. The recent tragedies of wildfires and hurricanes causing families to flee their homes across the nation is another reminder DHS and FEMA must prepare for the unique needs of children when responding to disasters.
“During the horrors of 9/11, kids in the area weren’t able to get home because of a lack of preparedness for school buses,” Daines stated. “Kids across our nation deserve to feel safe, and parents deserve to know that when they are entrusting their children to another’s care they will be well protected.”
“When natural disasters or other emergencies strike our communities, the Department of Homeland Security must be prepared to ensure the safety and well-being of our children,” Hassan said. “The bipartisan Homeland Security for Children Act takes critical steps to ensure that the Department considers the unique needs of children, and I look forward to working with Senator Daines and members of both parties to pass this important legislation.”
“With nearly 100 years of experience, Save the Children knows that children are among the most vulnerable when disaster strikes. We were encouraged when the House of Representatives passed this critical legislation in April, and are thankful for the leadership of Senator Daines and Senator Hassan that it is now being introduced in the Senate,” said Mark Shriver, Senior Vice President, U.S. Programs & Advocacy at Save the Children. “As our teams respond to three domestic disasters – Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and now, Hurricane Maria, this legislation will go a long way to put necessary protections in place to keep children safe during emergencies.”
U.S. Representative Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) introduced companion legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on April 25, 2017.
Click HERE to read the bill text.