Hurricane Harvey Children's Relief Fund
Jeremy Soulliere 203.295.5842
Austin, Texas (Nov. 8, 2017) — Save the Children Senior Director of U.S.
Emergencies Jeanne-Aimée De Marrais testified today before the Texas
Senate’s Health & Human Services Committee during a hearing to address the
state’s Hurricane Harvey response. Below is her testimony.
“Chairman Schwertner and esteemed
Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on
the interim charge concerning the state’s response to Hurricane Harvey. Save
the Children appreciates that Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has prioritized
the issue of the impact of Hurricane Harvey on children during this legislative
“My name is Jeanne-Aimee De Marrais and
I am the Senior Director of U.S. Emergencies at Save the Children and it’s nice
to be back at the Texas Capitol.
“I would like to thank Rebuild Texas and
Governor Abbott and his staff for their continued support through the state
grant, that supplements our private and foundational funding, that will enable
Save the Children to continue to help children as they recover from Hurricane
Harvey. The Governor and his staff have been supportive of our efforts since
the early days of the response, and we look forward to working with the members
of this committee in the days, months and years ahead to ensure all the needs
of Texas’ children are met.
“Save the Children has been responding
to children’s needs in emergencies around the world for nearly a century.In the United States, we have responded to
every major disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and have served more than
1.5 million children.Our experience has
taught us that children are always most vulnerable when disaster strikes and
they have unique needs to be addressed.
“Save the Children began working in
Texas in 2008 after Hurricane Ike, when we delivered more than two year of
psychosocial support programs across the Houston Independent School District
(HISD). We have also assisted in state and federal efforts to serve
unaccompanied minors arriving on the Texas/Mexico border, and ran child-focused
preparedness programs, entitled, Resilient and Ready Communities program in the
San Antonio and Houston areas.Save the
Children is an acting member of the Texas VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active
“Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall,
we have supported children and families in shelters by creating child-friendly
spaces, distributing essential supplies for children and babies, and providing
psychosocial support.We are now focused
on helping more than 1,500 child care and school recovery efforts, as well as
launching psychosocial support programs in Houston and on the coast. We plan to
help with Texas’ recovery from Harvey for at least two years, and we are hiring
a local team to lead and assist with our long-term programmatic work.
“We hope to work with you on addressing
two of the largest unmet needs. First, FEMA does not currently have authority
to provide recovery assistance to private for-profit child care programs. These
small businesses are responsible for most child care in the U.S.The majority of damaged and destroyed child
care programs have received little to no federal recovery support, and we hope
to find a solution at the state level to rebuild these facilities that provide
critically needed services to children and families.
“Second, natural and man-made disasters
frequently have widespread, deep and enduring impacts on children’s mental
health. We ask that the state government provide more funding to assist with
the mental health needs of children coping with disasters.
“Thank you again and we look forward to
working with you.”
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.