Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Sequoyah Memorial Office Building, 2400 N. Lincoln Blvd. • Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 521-3646 • Fax (405) 521-6684 • Internet: www.okdhs.org

Oklahoma Child Care Emergency Preparedness Plan

CCDF State Plan for 2016-2018


The purpose of this document is to provide guidance and procedures for the Department of Human Services Child Care Services (CCS) to respond to a disas­ter that significantly affects a community's child care infrastructure. The plan outlines the roles and responsibilities of CCS and partner organizations in providing support to child care providers and families affected by a disaster.


This plan was created using the following assumptions:

  1. Child care is an integral and essential part of a community's economic viability and should be restored as soon as possible following an emergency event.
  2. Child care providers have their own emergency and disaster plans as required by Child Care Licensing Requirements which outlines the mandates to practice drills, review and adjust as needed based on children, families, staff, and facility needs and to keep families informed of current and any revised procedures.
  3. Providers should have enough food, water and supplies to take care of children for up to three days without intervention.
  4. This document is consistent with other local, state and federal disaster planning documents related to caring for the needs of young children.
  5. Families may need temporary assistance with respite care for their children while they work in the recovery phase following an emergency/disaster.
  6. Understanding the needs for emergency responders to have care for their own children in order to meet the needs of the community.
  7. The steps to be followed when responding to the needs of a community will vary depending on the particular emergency or disaster and the geographic area involved, extent of the damage and auxiliary services available. 


The key emergency response functions relating to child care are:

  • Support the safety and well-being of children in child care through continued licensing efforts
    • Provide technical assistance as requested by providers, licensing personnel and make recommendations for temporary or emergency child care
  • Continue payments to providers who care for children receiving subsidized child care 
        • Continue eligibility determinations for subsidized child care
  • Disseminate information to providers and families regarding disaster assistance and recovery
    • Participate in the disaster response with the Oklahoma Emergency Operation Center and other agencies that offer support following an emergency


  1. Planning For Continuation of Services to Child Care Families


Oklahoma Department of Human Services has in place a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) which incorporates Child Care Services.  This plan designates responsibility for essential staffing needs relative to the agency's primary mission to improve the quality of life of vulnerable Oklahomans by increasing people's ability to lead safer, healthier, more independent and productive lives. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management coordinates state wide responses and provides updates during and immediately following an event.


A)    Continuity of Service

The priority is to protect the health and safety of children in care while minimizing the impact to providers and families.  Any time a situation exists in the state where child care might be affected due to structural damage of a facility, loss of utilities or any other condition that would limit the ability to care for children in healthy, safe environments, licensing specialists across the state monitor the impact and report findings to CCS.


B)     Coordination with other State/Territory Agencies and Key Partners

Child Care Services and Department of Human Services staffs collaborate with members of the Oklahoma Children in Emergencies Committee.  The committee meets quarterly and is composed of representatives of Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Child Care Resource Center, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Field Services, Oklahoma Association of Youth Services, Oklahoma Insurance Department, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Youth and Family Services, Emergency Management regional offices across the state, Salvation Army, Administration for Children and Families/Health & Human Services, Tulsa Partners, Children in Disasters Committee, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State Department of Education, Children Disaster Services (Church of the Brethren), Oklahoma Child Care Resource and Referral Association, various public school systems, Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security, Feed the Children, Oklahoma School Security Institute, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Terrorism and Disaster Center, American Red Cross, United Way of Central Oklahoma, Consultant with Save the Children, and Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Hazard Mitigation. In addition, the Oklahoma State Department of Health Resource Guide for Access and Functional Needs of Children and Youth in Disaster Planning is used to monitor emergency response to meet the needs of vulnerable populations, such as children.




II.               Emergency Preparedness Regulatory Requirements for Child Care Providers


Licensing Requirements for Child Care programs outline situations that emergency plans should include procedures for (A) serious injuries; (B) serious illnesses; (C) poison exposure; (D) outbreaks of communicable diseases, including pandemic influenza; (E) weather conditions, including tornados, floods, blizzards, and ice storms; (F) fires, including wildfires; (G) man-made disasters, including chemical and industrial accidents; (G) human threats, including individuals with threatening behaviors, bomb threats, and terrorist attacks; (I) lost or abducted children; (J) utility disruption; and (K) other natural or man-made disasters that could create structural damage to the facility or pose health hazards.


Licensing standards require that providers have an emergency preparedness plan in place in addition to an evacuation plan. Specific details are found in Licensing Requirements. The emergency plans must be written and individualized to the program and hours of operation; reviewed annually with staff and families; and include drills conducted at various times throughout the hours of operation, so that each child and staff member participates at least one time every three months.


Fire drills are conducted at least monthly by evacuating and meeting at pre-determined locations.  Tornado drills are conducted at least monthly by sheltering in pre-determined on-site locations.  Lock-down and relocation procedures are reviewed at least once every 12 months.  The director updates, as necessary, and reviews emergency plans and procedures at least once every 12 months; upon enrollment of children with disabilities or chronic medical conditions; after a drill when procedure issues are identified; and after an emergency.


Emergency plans should include:

  • Procedures for addressing each child's needs, with additional considerations for: (A) 2-year-olds and younger; and (B) children with disabilities or chronic medical conditions.


  • Ways to account for each child's location during an emergency; shelter-in-place procedures for short and extended stay situations that require children to stay in the building; lock-down procedures for situations threatening the safety of children and personnel; evacuation procedures for situations that require children to leave the building and include evacuation routes posted and pre-determined meeting locations; relocation procedures at pre-determined primary and secondary alternate locations, with prior approval from the contact individual at alternate locations; pre-determined transportation plan; and procedures for reuniting parents and children.


  • Procedures for notifying emergency authorities and parents, including a method and backup method.  Procedures should ensure personnel are familiar with the current emergency plans and procedures, including roles and responsibilities in an emergency; location of emergency plans and procedures; location of posted emergency information; location of first aid and emergency supply kits; and location and use of fire extinguishers.


  • Operable phones in each building and on each floor of a multi-floor building; an operable phone at off-site activities; an operable phone in each vehicle when children are transported. 


  • Posted emergency information must include program information and emergency numbers; first aid kit, emergency supply kit, and fire extinguisher locations; and evacuation routes.


  • Emergency first aid and supply kits are required to have mandated supplies listed in Licensing Requirements; records of all children and personnel currently in attendance with emergency contact information; and children's prescribed medications.


  • Emergency equipment should include smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that are operable and tested at least monthly; central detection and alarm system for smoke and carbon monoxide, inspected and tagged at least every 12 months by a state licensed authority; fire extinguishers and automatic sprinkler systems that are fully functional, inspected and tagged at least every 12 months by a state licensed authority.



III.              Provision of Temporary Child Care Services after a Disaster


Child Care Licensing Specialists in the affected areas assess the needs of child care providers to continue child care that meets health and safety requirements.  Programs that are closed due to structural or utility disruption are noted and families are provided alternate program referral information by Child Care Resource and Referral.  Licensing staff will contact the CCS state office to report on the numbers of programs impacted and to what degree.


If there is a need for additional child care in the disaster declared areas, Child Care Licensing works with emergency agencies such as Red Cross to provide care at shelters or other locations and may also identify providers and other programs to determine whether they can care for additional children of emergency responders.



IV.        Restoring or Rebuilding Child Care Facilities and Infrastructure after a Disaster


Oklahoma Child Care Services has a system in place to identify the needs of communities following a disaster or emergency and to ensure that the needs of young children and their families are met.  Collaborative meetings are held by phone or in person with national, state and local emergency management teams to include child care in the immediate and post-emergency restoration of services. 


Last Updated: January 13, 2016