Save the Children Prioritizes Recovery of Child Care Centers, Schools in Texas in Wake of Hurricane Harvey

An Estimated 40 Percent of Child Care and Early Education Centers in Greater Houston Damaged or Destroyed after Record-Breaking Storm

Hurricane Harvey Children's Relief Fund

Hurricane Harvey
The contents of a Houston-based child care center dry out and are discarded after the center was damaged from extreme flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. Photos by Susan Warner.
Hurricane Harvey

Media Contact
Jeremy Soulliere 203.295.5842, @soulles

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (September 8, 2017)— The most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years has damaged or destroyed an estimated 40 percent* of child care and early education centers in the greater Houston area. Save the Children is working with local education partners across the Lone Star state to help restore these centers so children can begin to recover and get back to learning.

"Children can begin to cope when they are able to interact and play with their peers and resume a normal routine," said Jeanne-Aimee De Marrais, Save the Children's senior director of U.S. emergencies. "That is why it is so important to get these children back into daycare and preschool classrooms. It is essential for them to stay engaged and focused on learning during this stressful time."

Save the Children is the national leader in helping restore child care and early education centers after emergencies, and helped lead such efforts in Texas in 2008 in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike and in New Jersey and New York in 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The global humanitarian organization, as part of a coalition of local and state partners, has been assessing the greater Houston area's child care recovery needs, and working to ensure local families – including those displaced and living in evacuation shelters – can once again access child care and early education programs. It is also planning to meet the needs of families who, because of the impact of the storm, have a new need for child care services.

"I have met many children in the area shelters we're supporting who can't wait for school to start and see their friends," said De Marrais. "Our priority is to make sure the children and families affected by this hurricane are able to regain a sense of normalcy as soon as possible, and getting these kids back in school will help that process."

Nearly half the schools in Houston were also impacted by the record-breaking storm, and with some schools planned to reopen as early as Monday, Save the Children is helping make sure school-age kids can have access to schools and after-school programs. It also plans to help secure and distribute essential school supplies damaged by Hurricane Harvey, including books, computers, sports, band and art equipment and supplies, and support efforts to refurbish libraries and playgrounds.

Save the Children's emergency response team has been on the ground in Texas since before the storm hit, working to meet children and families' immediate needs. It has established Child Friendly Spaces in evacuation shelters in areas disrupted by the storm, as well as distributed essential supplies to shelters, such as portable cribs, strollers and infant and toddler hygiene supplies. Save the Children's Child Friendly Spaces are safe, designated areas where children can play, socialize and begin to recover after a disaster, while allowing their parents to concentrate on addressing immediate and longer-term recovery needs.

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Notes to Editors:

*The percentage of child care and early education centers damaged or destroyed by flooding in the greater Houston area was estimated after making assessments at 473 of 4,022 providers.

  • Child care and early education center data was collected by Collaborative for Children, and the full damage estimate is listed below, including damage range:
    • No Damage (41.65 percent) – 1,666 centers
    • Very little Damage (20.30 percent) – 812 centers
    • Minor Damage (25.58 percent) – 1,023 centers
    • Major Damage (11.42 percent) – 457 centers
    • Completely Destroyed (1.6 percent) – 64 centers
  • Save the Children is collecting b-roll and photos from child care centers damaged by the storm, which can be sent upon request.
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