Information for Families with Children with Special Health Care Needs

Because children are in a critical period of development when toxic exposures can have profound negative effects, they are especially vulnerable to environmental hazards that arise after the flood.

The Department of Health suggests that children, and whenever possible teens, should not be involved in clean-up efforts but should return only after the area is cleaned. Children with medical concerns are even more vulnerable.

Resources for Families
Emergencies or disasters are difficult for families.  For families with children with special health care needs, the ability to manage or cope can be even more challenging.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics has numerous resources for families at the Promoting Adjustment and Helping Children Cope website.
  • CDC – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has this workbook for children between the ages of 3-7.
  • Your Child's Doctor or care team can help you refill lost prescriptions, or refer you for other medical services.
  • Your Child’s Health Plan – Health plans, including the Healthy Louisiana (Medicaid) plans have people who can help you find doctors and other services if you had to relocate.
  • Medication – Your pharmacy can assist by contacting your physician for refill authorizations. If your pharmacy is not accessible to you, another pharmacy of the same chain (Walgreen’s, CVS, etc) may be able to access your prescription information by computer.
  • Other Community Resources – The Office of Public Health - Children's Special Health Services Program has a list of resources for every region of the state may help families of children with special health care needs:
  • Local Office of Emergency Preparedness – Your local office can be accessed by dialing 911.
  • Children’s Hospital Ventilator Assistance Program – Contact your child’s case manager at or 504) 896-9228
  • EarlySteps – For children ages birth to 3 years in this program, contact your child’s EarlySteps service coordinator to assist with making arrangements for your child’s services and other needs.
  • Human Services District/Authority – For children over 3 years of age and/or receiving waiver services, contact the support coordinator or the in your area. In the current areas impacted these are:
    • Capital Area Human Services District: 225-925-1910
    • Florida Parishes Human Services Authority: 985-543-4730
    • Acadiana Area Human Services District: 337-262-5610

Considerations for Returning Home with a Child with Medical Needs

Consider the services and supports that need to be in place to protect your child’s health before you return home or as you find a place to live such as:

  • Coping and Stress – If parents are coping well, their children are more likely to do the same. If parents display fear and upset, their children are more likely to have trouble coping as well. Parents should answer their children's questions in a positive, hopeful manner, and limit TV news exposure for young children.
  • Medical services such as home health and essential personal care services.
  • Essential resources such as medications, special formulas, medical equipment such as ventilators, oxygen, medical supplies, etc.
  • Safe home environment. Is the home free from mold, especially if your child has a compromised immune system or breathing problems? If your child is wheelchair bound or has limited mobility, is the area accessible and are the surfaces safe?
  • How to access needed medical services? If a medical emergency or complication occurs, is your physician’s office open? Are needed medical specialists available? Can you get to the nearest emergency room open? Do you have transportation/ access to EMS services should your child need emergency care?

What is the role of a Pediatric Day Health Center in Emergency Preparedness?

The Pediatric Day Health Center (PDHC) is a program of Louisiana Medicaid and is a day health facility which provides medical care for children ages birth to 21.

During emergency situations, the PDHC facility may be opened as a shelter for families who need access to a physical location and with electricity for necessary medical equipment. The PDHC does not supply staffing resources, supplies or meals, so families will need to make sure someone is with their child at the PDHC and bring all necessary supplies and food with them.

If a family needs access to these services, they can call 911 and ask for the Local Office of Emergency Preparedness, who will work to get a near-by PDHC facility open for use.