N.J. earns recognition for emergency measures to protect kids

New Jersey is getting high marks for making plans to protect children during emergencies.

Save the Children, a child-focused emergency response organization, is critical of 28 states for failing to meet minimum standards to safeguard kids in schools and child-care centers.

Richard Bland, who oversees the research for that report card, is congratulating New Jersey officials for requiring schools and child-care facilities to have an evacuation plan, a family reunification plan, and a plan for children with disabilities.

“They saw the need to expedite the improvement of these regulations,” Bland said. “So now all forms of regulated child care require these three standards that we believe are the gold standard in emergency plans.”

Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said New Jersey has emergency plans in place for “every imaginable contingency” and the planning has been improved based on the lessons learned from Sandy.

“There are plans in place for every contingency we can imagine. That isn’t to say things couldn’t be dished up that we haven’t imagined, but we really do try to plan in advance,” Cerf said. “Most of this was done in advance of Sandy, but we certainly have refined and improved the planning based on the lessons learned during Sandy.”

Cerf says the state is pleased to get national recognition for its efforts.

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