For The Children

    State Senator Joan V. Hartley (D-Waterbury) today described compelling features of and underscored the pressing need for a bill she co-sponsored this year to require the state’s disaster response plans to consider and include the needs of children in times of crisis. SB983 has already received unanimous approval from two legislative committees; the bill now awaits consideration and further action by the entire Senate.

   Today’s forum was organized by the legislature’s Commission on Children and co-sponsored by the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

   “As we approach this year’s tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks and with stark, fresh images of the recent devastation in Japan we want to redouble our efforts to stay vigilant and be prepared, always mindful of those who are likely the most vulnerable among us, the children,” Senator Hartley said. “The bill I co-sponsored requires an amended version of the state’s civil preparedness strategies to include planning and programs specific to children in case of natural disasters or man-made terrorism.”

   Senator Hartley said some of the other speakers today included educators, representatives from local law enforcement, and officials of state agencies and statewide child advocacy groups. Many who spoke acknowledged the lead role Connecticut has played in this preparedness effort – Connecticut is the only state to have formally studied the impact on children of both the September 11th attacks and Hurricane Katrina.

   “Our effort to care for children in the wake of these crises was born of the September 11th attacks nearly ten years ago and remains a work in progress – unfortunately there are always new risks to prepare for and there’s no such thing as being too prepared,” Senator Hartley said.

   “I’m grateful for the support SB983 has received in committee and I look forward to winning Senate approval for the measure very soon,” Senator Hartley added.