Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is Child Life Disaster Relief’s (CLDR) partner for all large-scale national deployments.


CDS has been training and coordinating volunteers to work with children in the immediate aftermath of disasters since 1980. CDS is well-established in the field of disaster relief as a trusted and reliable organization to meet the needs of children after disasters.

To continue coordinated efforts for children and families’ post-disasters, the first step to get involved nationally is to become a certified volunteer with Children’s Disaster Services (CDS); this is accomplished through attending one of the CDS training workshops. After becoming certified with CDS, you then are eligible for deployment as part of CDS teams. Deployment is typically requested through a mass email. If able to serve, your travel arrangements will be coordinated by CDS. It is important to note that all travel, food, shelter, and supplies are funded in full when deployed with CDS.  Please click on each role to learn more.

CLDR has the privilege of joining CDS for national deployments working as part of CDS teams alongside teammates from various backgrounds. The diversity of backgrounds enables a well-rounded team all focused on providing evidenced-based child-led play opportunities for children in the immediate aftermath of natural and man-made disasters.  We deploy with CDS as CDS volunteers and do not represent CLDR on CDS deployments.

The following are dates and locations for CDS training for national deployments. We encourage all child life specialists and students to attend one of these so that you may have the opportunity to deploy with CDS.

Larger version of CDS 2019 Training Workshops.

Upcoming CDS Trainings & Locations:

September 20-21, 2019 Roanoke, VA Register Now Standard Training Oak Grove Church of the Brethren
September 20-21, 2019 Fort Lupton, CO Register Now Standard Training Fourway Baptist Church
October 11-12, 2019 Tampa, FL Register Now Child Life Specific Training Hyde Park Presbyterian
October 11-12, 2019 Portland, OR Register Now Standard Training Fruit and Flower Child Care Center
October 18-19, 2019 Omaha, NE Register Now Standard Training Omaha Rapid Response

All Child Life Specialists and students are encouraged to attend any of the training dates above. The CLS-Specific training in Tampa, FL (October 2019) is a training tailored specifically for CCLSs and you must be a certified child life specialist to attend this training. However, many CCLSs attend the standard CDS trainings and the overall content is identical.

CDS training includes an overnight shelter simulation as a valuable part of the learning experience. Since shelters and cots are typical for many disaster situations, participants will sleep on cots for experiential learning during the training.

Click Here  for more details on training content and what to bring.


Workshop Costs for Participants:

  • $45.00 – early registration fee includes all meals, curriculum, and one overnight
  • $55.00 – late registration fee when less than three weeks before

Child Life PDU’s:

PDU’s are available for child life specialists.  We will send out PDU’s after the training has been completed, however feel free to contact us at to request PDU’s if you have not received them.