FEMA and Department of Health & Human Services' AFC Improve Disaster Case Management Through Interagency Agreement

Release Number: HQ-09-145

WASHINGTON, D.C. - To better assist individuals recover from disasters the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Children and Families (ACF) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today signed an interagency agreement to implement an improved coordinated disaster case management program. FEMA Assistant Administrator for Disaster Assistance, Beth Zimmerman, and HHS Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, David Hansell, announced the agreement today while testifying before the Senate Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery.

“An effective Disaster Case Management services program connects survivors with local providers that can target recovery services to assist them in developing and achieving short and long-term recovery goals,” Zimmerman said. “FEMA and our partners seek to offer disaster survivors a roadmap for navigating and maximizing the use of available federal, state, local, non-governmental and volunteer organization disaster recovery programs. Our goal is to build on the foundation and the network of services that exists to ensure that survivors have a holistic approach to rebuilding their lives in the wake of a disaster event. The bottom line is this new interagency agreement will improve our ability to help disaster survivors.”

“HHS’ Administration for Children and Families is pleased this agreement focuses on holistic case management,” said David Hansell, HHS/ACF principal deputy assistant secretary, who testified today. “Our mission is to assist states in rapidly connecting children, families, the elderly and persons with disabilities with critical services that can restore them to a pre-disaster level of self-sufficiency that maintains clients’ human dignity. The agreement helps accomplish this goal.”

This agreement is a component of FEMA’s interim two-phase disaster case management model that can be applied to a presidentially declared disaster designated for Individual Assistance if a state requests disaster case management and it is approved by FEMA. The first phase consists of a rapid deployment of case managers, by ACF, to the disaster-affected areas to begin work with disaster survivors immediately after FEMA approves a state’s request for these services. These teams will assist individuals and families develop a disaster recovery plan and help disaster survivors progress toward their short and long-term recovery goals. Case managers will be able to connect survivors with local resources to assist with disaster-related unmet needs, such as housing, medical and employment needs.

The second phase in this model consists of transitioning the case management services to a state-managed program funded through a direct grant from FEMA. This ensures that the state is an essential partner in the development, implementation and delivery of ongoing case management services and that the use of local service providers in the recovery for disaster survivors and their surrounding communities will be maximized.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.