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Save the Children to Help Youngsters Impacted by California Wildfires
Date:10/23/2007

Special Feature: Tips for Parents on How to Help Children Cope

WESTPORT, Conn., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Save the Children, a humanitarian agency that responds to disasters and works to improve the lives of children around the world, is deploying a team of crisis experts to assist children and families affected by the devastating wildfires in Southern California.

The team, which will be posted to San Diego, will provide assistance to children and families evacuated from their homes.

"We know from experience that the needs of children are rarely a priority in emergency situations," said Mark K. Shriver, Save the Children's vice president for U.S. programs. "When children are displaced from their homes and schools and their routines are disrupted, they suffer in unique ways, and sometimes they lose faith in grown-ups' ability to protect them."

Save the Children, which has responded to nearly 20 emergencies around the world over the last year, works with the American Red Cross and other national disaster response organizations in the United States to ensure that the particular needs of children are addressed during a disaster. The agency has already trained 60 Red Cross staff members and shelter volunteers in California to set up and run its trademark program "Safe Spaces" for children in evacuation centers. The agency also has provided the Red Cross with 20 safe play kits for use in shelters.

The Save the Children experts traveling to California -- several of whom worked in the Gulf after Hurricane Katrina -- will support this effort, assess the damage and identify other needs of children impacted by the wildfires.

In addition, Save the Children and Mississippi State University's Early Childhood Institute will monitor the status of child-care facilities in the region affected. The agency will reach out to these facilities and local schools to offer assistance in the effort to get children back into school and ch
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SOURCE Save the Children
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