Sixty-two percent of Florida is without power and school systems were ordered closed last week. Child Care Aware America, a national non-profit organization, is working with childcare resource and referral agencies to help families left without childcare.
"After housing, the second biggest impediment to returning to work is childcare. We've got to make sure that children are safe and have a place to go," Andrew Roszak, Senior Director of Emergency Preparedness for Child Care Aware America said.
In January, Child Care Aware started the "Children & Disasters Committee." They've partnered with agencies such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Children's Disaster Services so that when disaster strikes, they're ready to respond quickly and efficiently.
If you're a parent and you've been personally impacted by this hurricane and you don't have childcare, the best thing you can do is to look up your local Child Care Resource and Referral office. They'll help you locate temporary childcare.
Child Care Aware has also set up a texting hotline for childcare providers who need assistance. Text "Harvey" or "Irma" to 59925 to fill out a damage and assistance survey. This service is free, but standard messaging rates may apply.
Finally, Child Care Aware says to keep an eye out for atypical behaviors in your children after an event like this.
"There's certainly going to be some impact from these disasters because it was a traumatic time. But if you start to see some prolonged behavior; acting out, being quiet, crying a lot, just behaviors that are abnormal for your child, your child may need to talk to someone to get through this trying time," Roszak said.
Child Care Aware helps providers with all kinds of disasters, all over the country. So even if you weren't directly affected by these hurricanes, they say this is a learning opportunity for providers. They have resources available at childprepare.org.