21 States Aren't Keeping Kids Safe: Is Yours on the List?

Suzee Skwiot | Sep 18, 2014 Being a Mom

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We're well into back to school season, and as your kids are starting to spend the majority of their day away from home, do you really know how safe they are in case of an emergency? Save the Children, an organization that focuses on child safety and wellness, recently came out with its annual Disaster Report Card that gauges how well each state is prepared to handle a disaster. The scary news? Nearly half the states in the nation are not prepared to protect our kids!

From multi-hazard plans for schools to evacuation plans for special needs students and child care centers, and reunification plans to help children and parents rejoin after a disaster, the organization looked at each state to determine how well they've planned. At a time when 54 percent of families have been affected by some type of disaster, it's important to look at the findings. And sadly, they're not the best.

Out of all the states, 21 and the District of Columbia don't require all schools and child care centers to have basic emergency preparedness plans. And we've ranked those states, in order of better to worst, so click on to find out how well your state fared. For those states not on the list? That's good news. That means you've met all four criteria for a safe and sound disaster plan.

Take a look below!

Are you surprised by the states that failed the test entirely?


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  • Kansas


    Score: 3

    The Sunflower State failed to create a multi-hazard plan for all K-12 schools, according to this year's report. However, it looks like things are moving up for the state, which had a 0 ranking in last year's summary.

  • Missouri


    Score: 3

    Since 2008 (when Save the Children started reporting on this), Missouri has failed to put together a multi-hazard plan for all of its schools. That's seven years in a row now.

  • Ohio


    Score: 3

    While Ohio has succeeded in preparing to evacuate day cares, reuniting families, and has a good multi-hazard plan for schools, it does not have a plan for children with disabilities and those with access and functional needs.

  • Virginia


    Score: 3

    Just like Ohio, Virginia has also failed to create a plan for children with disabilities. And in a time when 74 percent of parents think that the federal government isn't adequately prepared to protect their kids in an emergency, that's plenty concerning for moms and dads.

  • Pennsylvania


    Score: 3

    Following suit, Pennsylvania also hasn't completed all requirements to give children with special needs a proper evacuation plan.

  • Delaware


    Score: 3

    The First State has similarly lacked in one area: a specific plan for children with special needs. This comes right on the heels of an announcement by the U.S. Department of Education that Delaware's special needs education program "needs intervention."

  • Washington, D.C.


    Score: 3

    Washington, D.C. has failed, for the second year in a row, to make a multi-hazard plan for all of its K-12 schools.

  • Nevada


    Score: 2

    Now, in the next tier of preparedness (or unpreparedness), Nevada has failed on two counts. It does not have an adequate multi-hazard plan for all of its schools and has no plan for evacuating all children in child care.

  • Minnesota


    Score: 2

    For a second year in a row, Minnesota has been unsuccessful in creating a multi-hazard plan for schools and a plan for reuniting families in a disaster. Consider this for a second: after Hurricane Katrina, it took seven months to reunite the last child with her parents. If you ever needed a reason to create a proper reunification plan, here it is.

  • Florida


    Score: 2

    Florida also doesn't have an established multi-hazard plan for schools. And at a time when 42 percent of parents don't know where to meet their child in the case of an evacuation at schools, it's worrisome that Florida also does not have a plan for reuniting children with families.

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  • Indiana


    Score: 2

    Since 2011, Indiana has succeeded in creating a plan for family reunification, but it's still lacking a plan for evacuating child care facilities and one for children with special needs.

  • South Carolina


    Score: 2

    Save the Children determined that 49 percent of parents don't feel very prepared when it comes to protecting their children from a disaster. And in South Carolina, where there is not a proper plan for children with special needs or those in child care, the organization urges parents to sign the petition to improve the procedures.

  • Oregon


    Score: 1

    Over on the West Coast, Oregon has failed in three categories, according to Save the Children. The state does have a plan for all of it's K-12 schools, but has no fixed plans for evacuation reunification, special needs children, or child care centers.

  • Idaho


    Score: 1

    According to Save the Children, 69 million kids are separated from their children every single work day for a total of nine hours at a time. That's more than a third of the day. And the feds have determined that Idaho does not have proper policies in place to ensure that children are reunited with their parents, are evacuated properly from child cares, or have customized plans for those with special needs.

  • Montana


    Score: 1

    Since receiving the same score last year, Montana has not improved in its ranking. It continues to lack plans for kids in child care and for those with special needs. The Big Sky Country state also doesn't meet requirements for reuniting parents and children should a disaster occur.

  • Arizona


    Score: 1

    Much like Montana and Idaho, Arizona's disaster preparedness falls short on three points: no plans for child cares or special needs children, and no good plans for reuniting families. This is the seventh year in a row with these results, so improvements in the state have not taken place.

  • North Dakota


    Score: 1

    Since 2008, when it received a score of 0, North Dakota has improved by instituting an emergency plan for child care centers. As for plans for kids with special needs, reunification, and multi-hazard protocol for all schools? No progress there.

  • South Dakota


    Score: 1

    Directly south, North Dakota's neighbor has also only met one requirement: it has multi-hazard plans for all of its schools. The other three categories? Not so much. And it's been the same way since 2008.

  • Georgia


    Score: 1

    Georgia has had an established multi-hazard plan for all K-12 schools for the past several years. However, since 2008, it has not yet created plans for special needs students, child care centers, or for reconvening families after a disaster.

  • Maine


    Score: 1

    Maine has had a fixed multi-hazard plan for all its schools for years. However, it has not made moves to create policies for child care centers, special needs students, or reunification.

  • Iowa


    Score: 0

    Finally, the two states which met none of the requirements. Iowa, since the beginning of the report, has not marked in any of the four categories. There are no multi-hazard plans, no plans for kids with special needs, and for the ones in child care, and no reunification policies in order. To encourage improvements, Save the Children encourages parents to sign the petition for the governor.

  • Michigan


    Score: 0

    Just like Iowa, Michigan has also failed the Save our Children criteria for a safe disaster preparedness plan. According to the organization, parents have spent five hours organizing back to school supplies for their children this summer, but only one hour on emergency preparedness in the past year. And with Michigan's lack of plans and disaster procedures, that is not a good combination.

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