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

Suzee Skwiot | Sep 18, 2014 Being a Mom

are you ready sign disaster preparedness

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?


Image © _ba_

  • Kansas


    Image via benasmith71/Flickr

    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


    Image via storm-crypt/Flickr

    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


    Image via cindyfunk/Flickr

    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


    Image via skynoir/Flickr

    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


    Image via pamwood707/Flickr

    Score: 3

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

  • Delaware


    Image via mpd01605/Flickr

    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.


    Image via kptripathi/Flickr

    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


    Image via memoriesbymike/Flickr

    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


    Image via 54159370@N08/Flickr

    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


    Image via seegioo/Flickr

    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


    Image via cindy47452/Flickr

    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


    Image via trancemist/Flickr

    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.