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ERIC Number: ED521702
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1075-7031
Katrina's Children: Social Policy Considerations for Children in Disasters. Social Policy Report. Volume 21, Number 1
Osofsky, Joy D.; Osofsky, Howard J.; Harris, William W.
Society for Research in Child Development
Hurricane Katrina resulted in a disaster of proportions not previously known in the United States. The traumatic experiences of children and families during Hurricane Katrina, the flooding that resulted from the breach of the levees, the evacuation, and the aftermath are unprecedented. In responding to the enormous mental health needs of children post-Katrina, the Trauma Team of skilled mental health professionals from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) Department of Psychiatry provided crisis intervention and services. This paper discusses the work of the LSUHSC Trauma Team and provides a snapshot of the current mental health status of several thousand children and adolescents in post-Katrina New Orleans (not including those who were still displaced). Almost one half of the 4th to 12th grade students and over one quarter of younger children (based on parental report) met criteria for mental health services, based on the number and severity of their behavioral symptoms. Children who were separated from their parents or who had experienced previous trauma or loss were most likely to meet criteria. Ongoing risk relates to poverty, slowness of recovery, job loss, and family problems. Recommendations for rapid deployment of mental health services to children are provided, based on the Trauma Team's experiences. Educational efforts, school-based services, after-school care, resilience-enhancing programs, and community-building strategies are also discussed. Most important, a clearly articulated national disaster plan for children and families is urgently needed. This plan should be trauma-focused and based on developmental principles, research, and lessons learned from this and prior disasters. Knowledge gained from this disaster can aid in understanding and meeting the needs of children and families impacted by disasters, promoting resilience and self-efficacy, and providing evidence-based therapeutic services. (Contains 1 endnote.) [Commentaries from James Garbarino, Christina W. Hoven, Judith Wicks and Cheryl A. Boyce are included. Commentaries are individually referenced.]
Society for Research in Child Development. 2950 South State Street Suite 401, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Tel: 734-926-0600; Fax: 734-926-0601; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research in Child Development
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A