What’s Happening

Deploying to Disaster Zones

CLDR deploys certified child life specialists (CCLSs) who have also received specialized CLDR training in disaster response to major national disasters. They are able to provide essential direct-services for children and adolescents impacted by these disasters in temporary disaster shelters, family assistance centers, medical centers, schools, mental health centers, etc. CLDR works with strategic disaster relief partnerships to ensure that all children have the tools and support needed for positive coping and resilience. CLDR has deployed to almost 50 disaster sites (domestically and internationally) since 2015, including hurricanes, wildfires, and virtual deployments during COVID-19. CLDR responders have served over 10,000 children directly in the past five years.

By donating to CLDR, you will ensure that when the unthinkable occurs, trained professionals are able to swiftly deploy to support children and work to mitigate the long-term negative impact of these devastating events. 

Supplies and Materials

CLDR has created therapeutic coping backpacks for our CCLS volunteers to use as a resource when working with local community organizations, first responders, and hospitals in the immediate hours, days, and weeks following a crisis of any kind or magnitude. These backpacks are customized with developmentally appropriate coping tools and outlets for self-expression, socialization, and normalization; supplies include feelings flash cards, knitted hand puppets, bubbles, stress balls, and sensory tubes for children/adolescents on the Autism Spectrum. 

By donating to CLDR, you are helping us to continue providing a space for the safe expression of feelings, learning & practicing coping skills, and building resiliency for life.

CARE Team Support

CLDR has created CARE (Community Action Response & Education) Teams that serve as psychosocial first responders across the US with the goal of integrating child life services into communities around the country. These teams have a clear focus on community disaster response and supporting children within those first critical hours of a disasters impact. We know that disasters start and end at a local level.  CLDR responders are able to serve as a resource for their community through community trainings, support groups, and direct-services.  

By donating to CLDR, you are helping us to empower, equip, and educate the communities we live and work in to better support children as they turn tragedy into triumph. 


When the world feels chaotic and out of control, families and community members play a critical role in helping to reestablish a sense of normalcy and safety for a child before, during, and after a disaster. CLDR has created a wealth of resources including the 5 Essential Needs of Children after a disaster, disaster-specific resources, and webinars for key audiences including parents, medical first responders, teachers, and CCLSs.  These resources are free and easily accessible with clear information and practical tools to implement under stressful situations.  

By donating to CLDR, you are helping to create meaningful and free resources to support children’s sense of safety, regulation, connection, efficacy, and hope to offer opportunities for growth and resilience.