Child care centers along the Texas coast prep for hurricane season


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(Texas News Service) The advocacy group Save the Children is working with child care providers along the Texas coast ahead of the upcoming hurricane season.

The organization has formed the Gulf Coast Resilience Network to provide child care facilities with plans and tools to help them reopen or offer services quickly after a weather-related disaster.

PROMO 64J1 Map - States Texas - iStock - klenger

© iStock - klenger

Militza Mezquita, senior adviser for education in emergencies for Save the Children, said by working together, the network can get families back to their normal lives sooner.

"If those child care centers can't open, kids are at home, parents are at home," Mezquita pointed out. "It just causes a sense of frustration, and we can't get back to those normal routines. And so, that's where we sort of see those breakdowns, and it really, really impacts the family, you know - truly economically, emotionally."

She explained members go through emergency preparedness training and receive assistance on how to find funding after a disaster. Psychosocial and social emotional support is also available, so parents know how to help their children cope with disaster.

The network is made up of child care and early learning centers in five states along the Gulf Coast. It has created a six-week educational curriculum, which can be used as a stopgap in case a center is damaged, or classroom materials are destroyed.

Amy Musick, managing director of early care and education for SMART Family Literacy, said being prepared before a disaster occurs is essential to getting the facilities open and operating quickly.

"We train them on, you know, how to document what's there," Musick outlined. "Take videos, take pictures, record make and model and serial numbers of important things like computers and technical equipment and what to do on their return if there is damage to the center."

The 2024 Hurricane Season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. Forecasters at the private weather firm Atmospheric G2 predict it will be one of the most active on record.