|Reducing Children's Vulnerability
This longitudinal study draws on in-depth interviews with families
who were displaced following Hurricane Katrina. The sample includes
over 30 children and youth, 50 parents, and numerous teachers, daycare
providers, and shelter workers who cared for children in the aftermath
of the storm. The sample was diverse in terms of race, class, family
structure, age of children, and amount of damage to residences. The
study was designed to gain a deeper understanding of children’s
vulnerability, to gain new insights into the things caregivers did to
help reduce children’s vulnerability, and to understand things children
did for themselves to reduce the disaster impacts.
Key Research Findings:
- Children whose parents and caretakers stress routine and familiar
institutional connections in the midst of crisis recover more quickly
from trauma than children without similar stable routines and social
- Teachers, shelter workers, peers, and other “support agents” played
a critical role in assisting children and families post-Katrina.
- Reopening schools and attending first to the recovery of children
after disasters like Hurricane Katrina speeds the recovery of both
afflicted families and entire communities.
- Recovery efforts should prioritize the stability of children and
the institutions that care for them, such as schools and daycare
centers, to speed community recovery.
- Tutoring programs and after-school activities should be quickly
re-established after disasters in order to create stabilizing routines
- In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a single mother received the
same amount of FEMA aid as an adult man with no children. This
one-size-fits-all approach to aid should be re-evaluated for future
Alice Fothergill, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Vermont, (802) 656-2127, Alice.Fothergill@uvm.edu.
Lori Peek, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Colorado State University, (970) 491-6777, email@example.com.
1) Alice Fothergill and Lori Peek. 2006. “Surviving Catastrophe: A Study of Children in Hurricane Katrina.” Pp. 97-130 in Learning from Catastrophe: Quick Response Research in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina. Boulder, CO: Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado.
The SSRC Katrina Task Force oversees a range of research projects
on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and acts as a clearinghouse for
information emerging from those projects. For additional literature on
Hurricane Katrina see our Research Bibliography. For more information about the SSRC Katrina Task Force see the Katrina Hub or contact Siovahn Walker at
firstname.lastname@example.org. For other Research Bulletins see our Archive.