Where do we start? A proposed post-disaster intervention framework for children and young people

L Gibbs, Elyse Snowdon, Karen Block, Hugh Gallagher, Colin MacDougall, Greg Ireton, Alana Pirrone-Savona, Dean Forbes, James Richardson, Louise Harms, E Waters

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    The impact of disasters on the mental health, well-being and social inclusion of children and young people is well established. However, there is very limited evidence about effective community-based interventions to support positive outcomes. In this paper, we review the empirical and theoretical evidence and propose a conceptual framework to guide longer term community-based interventions, modified from an already developed multidimensional framework for refugee integration. We demonstrate its relevance, with some adjustments, through alignment with the disaster literature, particularly as it relates to children and young people. We also pilot the framework by applying it to an analysis of the services and initiatives delivered to support children and young people following the 2009 Victorian bushfires in Australia. The results suggested a concentration of funding on individually oriented, mental health programmes targeting secondary school-aged students. This may indicate under-resourcing of initiatives for younger children. There also appeared to be very limited inclusion of programmes aiming to re-establish a sense of safety and stability. Despite recognition of the important role of schools in supporting children and young people post-disaster, the analysis of initiatives indicated there was limited external funding support for school-based programmes. There were promising indications of programmes providing opportunities for children and young people to develop citizenship in the post-disaster recovery context, and scope for this to be extended to preparedness and response roles.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)68-87
    Number of pages20
    JournalPastoral Care in Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


    • adolescent
    • child
    • disaster
    • models (theoretical)
    • schools
    • services


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