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lkjj. Child and Family Resilience to Disasters Kevin Ronan. Outline. Child and family vulnerability in disasters Response & Recovery Prevention & Preparedness Getting involved. Child & Family Vulnerability. Children are a vulnerable group After disasters Including more benign events

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Child and Family Resilience to Disasters

Kevin Ronan


Child and family vulnerability in disasters

Response & Recovery

Prevention & Preparedness

Getting involved

Child family vulnerability
Child & Family Vulnerability

Children are a vulnerable group

  • After disasters

    • Including more benign events

      • Mount Ruapehu eruption 1995

  • Before disasters

    • Disasters as major fear in childhood

Response recovery
Response & Recovery

  • Reactions & Risk following hazardous events

    • For majority, expect normal recovery

    • Children a vulnerable group

      • Prominent risk factors for children

  • Helping: Education and intervention

    • Early to later forms of support: Stepped Care

    • Increasing child and family self-sufficiency

      • Reducing risk factors

      • Increasing protective factors

Child family important protective factors
Child & Family: Important Protective Factors

  • Reduced arousal & sense of comfort

    • Soothing, simple emotion regulation

    • Basic needs

  • (Regaining a) sense of control or mastery

  • Approach coping

  • Support: family, school, peer, other

  • Optimism/hope

    • Promoting a future temporal orientation

    • While still dealing directly with events

Response recovery interventions
Response & Recovery Interventions

A continuum from self-help to more intensive forms of support should be provided within a clear referral and assessment framework that is coordinated through inter-agency cooperation.

Stepped Care

Response recovery interventions different modalities in a stepped care model
Response & Recovery Interventions: Different Modalities in a Stepped Care Model

  • Early intervention (Level 1)

    • Psychological First Aid

    • Self-help & education

  • Later steps (Level 2 & 3)

    • School & group interventions

    • More intensive child & family interventions

Early interventions for children
Early Interventions for Children Stepped Care Model

  • The message for children in early intervention

    • Keep it simple & consistent

    • Educate, normalise & promote natural recovery

    • Promote protective factors

      • Including simple coping messages aimed at re-gaining a sense of control

      • Emphasise support availability

Additional issues for parents other adults
Additional Issues for Parents & Other Adults Stepped Care Model

Children need to feel looked after

Children need predictability, consistency, sense of safety

Children look to adults for support and as coping models

-parents as particularly crucial

Additional messages for families schools
Additional Messages for Families & Schools Stepped Care Model

  • The importance of:

  • Creating safe, consistent, predictable environments for kids

  • Modeling & helping children attend to basics (routines, eating, sleeping, activities)

  • Modeling & providing support, warmth

  • Modeling & promoting patience and sense of control

Main messages for adults
Main Messages for Adults Stepped Care Model

  • Promote & model active coping within supportive school & home environments

    • “This was a terrible thing that happened, but we as a ....(family, school) are going to deal with this... and we are also going to make sure you are looked after as we do”

  • Emphasise to adults their role in child coping

    • “As we as adults go, so too our children”

    • Thus, school intervention with kids needs

      accompanying messages for adults

More intensive interventions screening intervention
More Intensive Interventions: Screening & Intervention Stepped Care Model

For more intensive school/group and child or family interventions, children and families at high-risk can be identified and offered follow-up services provided by trained and approved community- or school-level providers

1. School/Group: Our Mount Ruapehu Research: 7 Month Study

2. Child/family: Our CBT & TF- CBT interventions

Back to the beginning prevention as the best form of cure
Back to the Beginning: Prevention as the Best Form of Cure Stepped Care Model

Our research focus also emphasises helping children, families, schools and communities become more resilient prior to a disaster

- since 1996

Community preparedness overall findings
Community Preparedness: Overall Findings Stepped Care Model

  • Low levels of community preparedness

    • Though most believe prep a good idea

  • Including in high hazard areas

  • How do we increase readiness to prepare?

  • Readiness to change starts

    with motivation

Increasing motivation to prepare why kids
Increasing motivation to prepare: Why kids? Stepped Care Model

  • Children are a motivational reservoir in a community

  • 50 – 60% of home settings have a school aged young person

  • Having a child in a household

    • Increases adults’ intention to prepare

Why kids
Why kids? Stepped Care Model

  • Children & families are a high risk group following disasters

    • Disasters are also a major fear of children

  • Children are adults of the future

Increasing motivation summary
Increasing motivation: Summary Stepped Care Model

  • Having kids in a household increases adults’ intention to prepare

    • In CQ, around the world

  • But, equally having kids doesn’t guarantee increased prep

    • CQ survey findings

  • One issue then is one of turning beliefs & good intentions to action

    • Through education programs

Hazards education programs
Hazards education programs Stepped Care Model

  • Teaching kids about hazardous events and risk mitigation

  • Range from simple reading and discussion programs

  • To emergency management-focused

  • To different aspects of curricula

    • Science

    • Geography

    • SOSE

Hazards education programs do they work
Hazards education programs: Do they work? Stepped Care Model

  • Overall findings

    • Research in NZ

    • Research in Australia

      • Including in Canberra with 12-18 yr olds from disadvantaged backgrounds

Hazards education programs specific findings
Hazards education programs: Specific findings Stepped Care Model

  • Increases in awareness and knowledge

  • Increase in “hazards discussions”

  • Increases in emotional resilience

  • Increases in child & home preparedness for hazardous events

    • Increase in number of parent-reported home prep activities by over 6 per household

Education programs evidence supported elements
Education programs: Evidence supported elements Stepped Care Model

  • Emergency management focused programs better than reading and discussion only programs

    • Providing specific guidance is useful

  • But, even reading and discussion programs have been shown to produce significant benefits

Education programs evidence supported elements ii
Education programs: Evidence supported elements II Stepped Care Model

  • Multiple programs over time produce enhanced effectiveness

    • Be mindful also of a single program’s “half life” effect

  • Link the program to home

    • Simple, interactive homework

    • Emphasise family plan

How can we as psychologists help
How Can We as Psychologists Help Stepped Care Model

  • Get training

  • Be part of a coordinated effort linked to emergency management network in your community

  • Advocate for good practice principles

    • See our book & website

Practice research making contact
Practice, Research, Making Contact Stepped Care Model

If you are doing research or practice in this area, make contact:

We have resources available including measures, good practice principles & other resources

Psychological first aid
Psychological First Aid Stepped Care Model

  • Philosophy

  • Main Principles & Elements

    • Protection, Safety & Comfort

    • Stabilisation & Arousal Reduction

    • Information Gathering: Current Needs & Concerns

    • Assist Coping/Re-establishing Routines

    • Connection with Social & Emotional Support

    • Advocacy, Routing & Referral

  • No Research Findings as Yet

    • Trial in the US

Prevention preparedness
Prevention & Preparedness Stepped Care Model

  • Rationale for primary prevention approach

    • Representative research in Central Queensland

Central queensland research ronan crellin 2009
Central Queensland Research (Ronan & Crellin, 2009) Stepped Care Model

  • Main findings

  • 90% of 1208 adult participants believed preparation useful

  • 92% believed preparation reduced hazard risks

  • Less than 50% reported a home emergency plan for any hazard

    • Likely an overestimate