Hurricane Harvey: One Year Later

Even while the unprecedented rains of Hurricane Harvey were still falling across Houston, Collaborative for Children had taken immediate action, recognizing that the impact of flooding on child care providers throughout our region would have a devastating impact on families. Our efforts during and immediately following Hurricane Harvey evolved quickly into what is now our Response, Recovery and Resilience Plan, which not only continues to assist providers – one year later – still recovering from Hurricane Harvey but also works to ensure child care providers in Houston will be prepared to weather the next storm.

With funding from Save the Children, the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund and donors like you, Collaborative for Children developed and implemented its three-phase response, recovery and resilience effort. Focused on balancing rapid relief with customized support, the program reports the following results to date:

  • 2,510 assessments completed of child care providers through electronic and on-site surveys, with more than 650 providers reporting damage

  • 354 child care providers completed online trainings and 193 providers attended face-to-face trainings on high-quality early learning spaces or trauma-informed care

  • 420 damaged child care providers received $2,919,036 in financial assistance via equipment and materials vouchers or recovery reimbursements

  • 23,611 children served by child care providers that received response and recovery support

These results are incredible, but also extraordinary was the development of our program itself, which has been pioneering in its size, scope and impact on early education and care. Early and accurate data, access to providers and our 30-year reputation in the community as a trusted resource for early education quality improvement positioned us to be the immediate partner for rebuilding and the the long-term partner for quality improvement and resiliency. Hallmarks of our program include:

  • The creation of effective response and recovery data collection, analysis and decision-making tools and templates, including a rapid electronic damage assessment, a comprehensive on-site damage assessment, a data-driven voucher processing rubric, and an individual recovery plan template

  • The establishment of a voucher process and vendor portal and reimbursement system to distribute materials and equipment vouchers and reimbursable recovery assistance to qualifying providers

  • The development of online resources for child care providers, families and stakeholders, including a Response, Recovery and Resilience Plan Dashboard, a Damage Assessment and Response and Recovery Map and a seven-step recovery progression for providers

  • An emphasis on reaching child care providers serving vulnerable and marginalized populations through the creation of a Vulnerable Populations Coordinator position focused on reducing barriers for vulnerable populations to access assistance, including translation services and targeted outreach based upon ZIP code and flood damage mapping.

From Harvey’s earliest days when Collaborative for Children staff volunteered time and materials to care for children in the George R. Brown Convention Center shelter and manned our phones around the clock to help families find alternate child care to today as we build resiliency for an entire community, Collaborative for Children’s role in Hurricane Harvey response has been swift, focused and critical to Greater Houston’s storm recovery.

Child care accessibility affects today’s workforce, and child care quality sets the foundation for tomorrow’s workforce. That’s why child care must be a priority of regional disaster response and recovery efforts. Together, we won’t just help child care providers recover, we’ll help them come back stronger, providing better care options for Houston families and a better early start for our children. You can help. To support our ongoing recovery and resilience efforts, visit collabforchildren.org/donate.