Vulnerable Population

Introduction

Odenton, which is in Anne Arundel, Maryland, has experienced a 28.11% population growth rate in the past 10 years .The city is comprised of diverse ethnic groups, the whites being the largest ethnic group, making up to 72.3% of the entire population, while the blacks, the Asian, the Hispanic, and the mixed races make up 27.7% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).

An increase in demographic data, however, goes hand in hand with an increase in social amenities, including amenities related to traumatic events. This paper will determine the special needs that infants aged 0-5 years in Odenton would have in time of disaster, and then provide an overview of the current community resources available in Montgomery County to help these infants.

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Special Needs That Children Aged 0 to 5 Years Would Have In Time of Disaster

The rate of population growth for children aged 0 to 5 years in Odenton is highly increasing over the years, as it currently stands at 11.58% of the entire population (U.S. Census Bureau 2010). Thus, this population is one of the most vulnerable groups in times of disaster, especially during mass casualty incidents.

Knowledge on the special needs for this population can be obtained from health services that handle the critically injured patients in Odenton, commonly known as the Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Determining special needs for this group necessitates the need for an effective data collection procedure, as the assessment should involve both human and capital resources.

It is imperative to understand that undertaking a need assessment for this population should start from the onset of mothers’ pregnancy period because a disaster during pregnancy contributes greatly to adverse effect on unborn children’s health (Phelps & Hassed, 2011).

Hence, the special needs for this group should include screening pregnant women for the presence of posttraumatic stress disorder after a disaster, holding interventions aimed at reducing levels of stress for the affected pregnant women, screening toddles, and providing financial support to the low-income earners.

These needs, however, can only be facilitated by the presence of the community’s resources, which include the level of Odenton’s family-centered practices, the level of Odenton’s policies on child protection, and the level of networks from neighborhood within Odenton.

Community Resources Currently Available In Montgomery County in Maryland to Help This Group

Families in Odenton seem to understand that, even though the infant’s group is more vulnerable to disaster, it is also more receptive to intervention as compared to the other groups.

Thus, the families associated with this group are more receptive to availability of human resources currently available in Montgomery County since this county evaluates and comes up with a program that provides early intervention to children who have experienced a deficiency resulting from a disaster (Health and Human Services, 2011).

This support concurs with Odenton’s family practices since the intervention is provided through a family centered approach that seeks to understand the special needs of infants aged 0 to 5 years. However, despite the fact that the Montgomery County has the capacity of providing this group with adequate interventions, the county puts more emphasis on postnatal support [0-5 years] than the prenatal support [during pregnancy].

Montgomery County protects infants aged 0 to 5 years by adopting practices that fit the needs of every child regardless of its character traits, interests, health status, talents, and ethnicity, among other factors. Because of this, the guardians to the children of this group are receptive to the childcare financial support provided by the Montgomery County, as the county’s policy evaluates the low-income earners who are qualified for receiving this financial support (Health and Human Services, 2011).

More so, Montgomery County protects this group through a model that facilitates decision-making process by taking into account that coordination and cooperation between the diverse ethnic groups within Odenton can enhance the intervention of this vulnerable group.

Despite the fact that Odenton is ethnically diverse, the Montgomery County facilitates planning, implementation, as well as coordination of projects that cater for the welfare of this vulnerable group in a manner that averts racial discrimination (Health and Human Services, 2011).

References

Health and Human Services. (2011). Children, Youth, and Family Services. Retrieved on June 6, 2011 from, http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/omb/FY12/psprec/pdf/hhs-cyfs.pdf

Phelps, K., & Hassed, C. (2011). General practice: The integrative approach. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). Maryland 2000: 2000 census of population and housing (4th ed.). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau.