Illinois is the nation’s most improved state when it comes to establishing emergency plans for children. This is according to the group Save the Children, which wants to see plans for emergency response, family and child reunification and plans for special needs children, including infants, at schools and day care facilities. “Last year at this time, Illinois met only one of the four standards, and this year, Illinois is actually one of the few states to have improved to a point where they meet all four of the standards,” says Rich Bland, policy director for Save the Children.
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He says there was an event that prompted the improvement. “I think Illinois had a wakeup call with the tornadoes,” he said, referring to the tornadoes around the state in November 2013 in which seven people were killed. Save the Children participated in a post-tornado task force examining gaps in the state’s emergency preparedness.
Day care facilities are now coming into compliance with their emergency plans as their licenses are renewed. Illinois is now one of 29 states that meet all the recommendations. There were 22 states last year. Of the seven that improved to meet all the recommendations, Illinois is the one that climbed the most, having had emergency plan requirements in place only for schools last year.