Document on Standards for Disaster Care Released

The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), which has membership including over 20 faith-based organizations in the United States, has issued a 10-point document defining the minimum standards of emotional and spiritual care for disaster victims.

Adopted by members of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team; Catholic Charities, USA; the Churches of Scientology Disaster Response and others, the Spiritual Care Points of Consensus covers issues including types of disaster spiritual care, ethics and standards of care, and local community resources.

"It is a true realization of their faith when Catholics, Scientologists, Protestants, Evangelicals, Buddhists and Jews can sit down together and define the standards of spiritual care for the benefit of disaster survivors," said Diana Rothe-Smith, executive director of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. "Rather than put aside their differing beliefs, they have mutually embraced them, and this extraordinary document is the result."

National VOAD board member Rev. Kevin Massey stated, "As significant as the adoption of these points of consensus is the cooperation conversation that took place among these partners to form them. We did not start with consensus; rather, it was created through respectful conversation."

The National VOAD, comprised of 49 U.S. organizations, facilitates cooperation among major non-profit and faith-based disaster response organizations in the U.S. In 2008, members of the VOAD provided more than $200 million in direct financial assistance and more than 7 million hours in volunteer labor.

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