The Institute for Childhood Preparedness is proud to support the PREP (Promoting Responsible Emergency Protocols) For All Students Act, a new bill introduced by Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. This bill will ensure that schools’ emergency preparedness protocols will include the needs of young children and students with disabilities.
The PREP For All Students Act Supports Disaster Preparedness For Young Children And Those With Disabilities
According to a press release from Senator Casey, “The PREP for all Students Act aims to keep all students safe when extreme weather strikes or on-campus violence occurs.” The need for this Act is apparent due to the following facts:
During the 2017-2018 school year, 16 to 18 percent of children had a disability or developmental delay.
Natural disasters such as flooding and wildfires are on the rise in the United States. On-campus violence has also increased.
Most emergency protocols are designed with a one-size-fits-all approach. They do not adequately account for the unique needs of persons with disabilities, mental health needs, or young children.
The press release also states, “Safety recommendations for schools and child care settings must evolve to integrate the needs of young children and youth with disabilities. The PREP for all Students Act would ensure that public schools, early child care education centers and institutions of higher education have the tools they need to develop inclusive emergency preparedness protocols.” Companion legislation to the PREP For All Students Act is also being introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Representative Susan Wild (D-PA-7).
Senator Casey said, “We must do more to meet the needs of all children and youth, regardless of age, developmental stage, and ability. The PREP for all Students Act would ensure that young children and students with disabilities are not left out of emergency preparedness and would support schools and child care centers by providing the resources they need to keep young people safe.”
Congresswoman Wild followed up, “Child care centers to institutions of higher education need the resources to be able to develop trauma-informed emergency preparedness plans to protect young students and students with disabilities.”
The PREP For All Students Act would establish a Federal Advisory Council of experts, federal agencies, youth with disabilities and mental health considerations, advocates, parents, and educators. This expert Council will develop guidelines and create recommendations to establish trauma-informed emergency preparedness protocols for early childhood programs, public schools, and higher education. According to the press release, the council will also provide “schools with accurate information about the needs of specific populations of children, youth, and employees during emergency events.”
We are proud to support the PREP For All Students Act along with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), Sandy Hook Promise, National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), Little Lobbyists, National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), Autism Society of America, Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), Council of Parent and Attorney Advocates (COPAA), and Spina Bifida Association and Access Living.
The Institute for Childhood Preparedness has advocated for increased emergency preparedness funding and training for early childhood professionals, children, and those with disabilities since our inception in 2018. We have proudly trained over 85,000 participants across the United States, Canada, and Europe; we encourage childhood professionals to get prepared in 2021! Find out more about our 2021 Preparedness Challenge today.
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