Rep. Payne, Jr.’s Bill to Protect Children from Natural Disasters Passes House
Media Contact: Patrick Wright -- Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov
Washington, D.C. — Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr.’s bill, the Homeland Security for Children Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. The bill, H.R. 4426, requires the Department of Homeland Security to include feedback from organizations that represent the needs of children in future department strategies, policies and plans. Rep. Payne, Jr. introduced the bill because hundreds to thousands of children can lose their parents, face food insecurity, and become homeless after floods, hurricanes and other extreme weather catastrophes.
“We must make the safety and well-being of children a top priority when we plan for natural and man-made disasters,” said Rep. Payne, Jr. "It is the children of communities who suffer the most when these tragedies occur. We must have a strategic and comprehensive plan to handle their need before, during and after any emergency. We have a moral obligation to protect the next generation from harm during these catastrophic events.”
In addition to the feedback, the bill would direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to identify and integrate the needs of children into all emergency preparation, protection, response and recovery activities dealing with natural and man-made disasters as well as terrorist actions. It would create a new position of Children's Technical Expert within FEMA to guarantee that the needs of children are addressed and considered during these agency activities.