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Disaster Preparedness and Response

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Children who become separated from their loved ones during and following a disaster are at an increased risk of trauma. Coping with anxiety and stress are much more difficult in the absence of those who know the child’s individual needs. Children separated from their parents or legal guardians are more vulnerable to maltreatment, abuse, abduction, and sexual exploitation.  

In 2005, during Hurricane Katrina, our organization handled 34,045 calls, and helped resolve the 5,192 missing children cases reported to NCMEC. Because of these efforts, Congress later mandated the establishment of the National Emergency Child Locator Center (NECLC), which NCMEC operates during Presidentially declared disasters at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

The National Center has resources to help families and communities prepare for disasters. Involving children in preparing for an emergency will help them feel safer before, during, and after a disaster.

By the Numbers

Today, the number of children (under age 18) in the U.S. is at an all-time high of 74.2 million, comprising

24% of the population.1

57% of adults

have pursued three or more of the six basic preparedness actions.2

41% of people

say they are not prepared for a natural disaster.3

What NCMEC is Doing About It

National Emergency Child Locator Center

NCMEC operates the National Emergency Child Locator Center (NECLC). The NECLC may be activated through a request to FEMA from a State, Tribe, or Territory during Presidentially declared disasters.  Its primary mission is to assist with the reunification of children who have become separated from their parents or legal guardians during a disaster.

Unaccompanied Minors Registry

The Unaccompanied Minors Registry (UMR):

  • Provides a place for emergency management agencies, law enforcement, shelter staff, hospital employees and other organizations to report minors in their care during disasters.
  • Accepts reports of children up to age 18 who have been separated from their parents, legal guardians or other relatives.
  • Allows shelters, hospitals and other agencies managing a large number of unaccompanied children to upload entire lists of names at once.

When a person makes a report to the Unaccompanied Minors Registry it goes directly to NCMEC’s Call Center. A case will be opened for the child and information will be passed on to field resources on the ground.

The UMR site is

Team Adam

Team Adam provides rapid, onsite assistance to law-enforcement agencies and families during critical cases involving missing children. Consultants are deployed to the scene and provide technical assistance and connect families and law enforcement to NCMEC’s vast network of resources. Team Adam partners with FEMA to provide child reunification services during federally declared disasters, providing assistance to families affected by such disasters nationwide.  


Learn how to prepare your family in case of a disaster.

 Family Emergency Playbook

tips for disasters

Click below to download a copy of the Family Emergency Playbook, a portable and customizable tool to help families prepare for a disaster.

Rapid Response Cards

emergency prep cards

You can also download a smaller version of the tool in the form of Rapid Response Cards. In doing so, you’ll be taking a practical step in preparing your family for any type of emergency situation.

Please email to request a presentation on our Preparedness & Response Resources.