Disaster Related Family And Education Issues

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab


Disaster Related Family and Education Issues

This covers a wide range of family issues that might arise during or after a disaster including: 

  • Education 
  • Custody & Guardianship
  • Powers of Attorney 
  • Divorce
  • Domestic Violence

The legal timeline below goes over the various education and family-related legal needs a disaster survivor might encounter. Expand each section of the timeline to learn about the various issues a disaster survivor might face. Each issue below is included as information in the relevant tabs on this page. 

Family and Education Related Legal Needs After a Disaster

Below are some education and family-related issues you might face 1 to 6 weeks following a disaster: 

  • School and other educational facility closures 

  • Sending children to school with schools closed 

  • Temporary custody i.e. provisional custody by mandate

Below are some education and family-related issues you might face 1 to 6 months following a disaster: 

  • Accessing school records and transcripts 

  • Displacement and Going to School 

  • Replacing school uniforms 

  • Modifying parenting orders to reflect new home and school locations

  • Understanding a power of attorney document 

  • Filing for divorce

  • Accessing resources for domestic violence issues

  • Getting a Protective Order

  • Dealing with an eviction related to domestic violence

  • Moving out of the state with a Louisiana protective order

Below are some education and family-related issues you might face 6 months to a year following a disaster: 

  • Planning for interim custody plans during a declared disaster 


Education Issues Related to a Disaster

Disaster survivors may be wondering whether schools and other educational facilities are open during a disaster. Disaster survivors can contact the school to see if there are any special procedures or information available regarding closures. Disaster survivors should listen closely to public announcements which may provide information about school closings. If schools are open in your parish following a disaster your child should go to school as normal, absent a good reason that they cannot attend.  

Visit http://www.louisianabelieves.com/ to find out the current operational status of Louisiana schools.

The Louisiana Department of Education Call Center's toll-free helpline number is 1-877-453- 2721. In addition, the Louisiana Department of Education may post closure notices and updates on its website: http://www.louisianabelieves.com/. If your child received special education services at their school in Louisiana and is denied these services in their new school you should contact Disability Rights of Louisiana at (800) 960-7705 for assistance.

Disaster survivors may need to get a copy of their transcripts or school records related to a disaster event if they need to relocate or move. Schools and school districts keep permanent records and provide electronic copies to the Louisiana Department of Education. A person who needs their transcript can contact their school or school district. They may also write to request a copy of their transcript from the Department of Education.

Disaster survivors might be displaced and be seeking temporary shelter outside of the area of the disaster. If you are displaced and seeking temporary shelter, you should contact your local school district's office concerning placement of your child.

If you are seeking temporary shelter out of state, you should contact the local county school system and inform them that your child has been displaced by a natural disaster. The McKinney-Vento Act requires that public schools provide education services to students who are homeless. All or most school districts have a “homeless liaison” who can help expedite placements and overcome bureaucratic barriers for students who are homeless, including those who have lost their home due to a natural disaster. For more information about the McKinney- Vento Act, see https://nche.ed.gov/determining-eligibility.

In addition, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 specifically requires States to identify, evaluate, and provide special education and related services, as appropriate to children who are homeless.

All local school districts in Louisiana have previously been asked to provide flexibility for evacuee students in regard to school uniforms. It is important that students be enrolled quickly with as little disruption as possible. School uniforms may be covered by FEMA Individuals and Households Program (IHP).

Custody & Guardianship

Custody & Guardianship

Disaster survivors may need to temporarily transfer legal custody of their child to allow another person to have “care, custody, and control” of the minor child. If a parent is unable to care for a child for any reason, such as during a disaster, then the form for Provisional Custody by Mandate may be a simple solution. The Provisional Custody by Mandate is a temporary solution for custody of a minor child. The process is done by affidavit, signed by the parent(s), in front of a notary public and two witnesses. 

To learn more about custody, guardianship & parenting orders check out the resources: 

Disaster survivors with a minor child who have a custody judgment may need to update the order to reflect new circumstances in a disaster situation. In general, a person should only file a request for the Court to change custody after a significant change has occurred that impacts the child. This might be moving to a new location and attending a new school. Disaster survivors may need to file to change custody orders to reflect newly changed circumstances for the minor child in a custody order. 

To learn more about modifying parenting orders check out the resources: 

Disaster survivors with a minor child who are in a custody situation may benefit from planning for a declared disaster with an interim custody plan. A temporary interim custody plan can help plan for how and with what parent the child will be cared for, where the child will live, and other important details about the child’s health, education, and welfare. During a declared disaster, parents must communicate about the safe evacuation of a child, the location of the child during and after the disaster, and have an interim custody plan for custody provisions that may differ from the original judgment. 

To learn more about custody plans check out the resources: 

Powers of Attorney

Powers of Attorney

Understanding powers of attorney documents

Disaster survivors may need to use a power of attorney document that authorizes one person to make decisions on behalf of another person. The powers allotted in your POA document can be broad or limited to a specific person or transaction, such as making decisions to care for a child or elder parent and to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf.

To learn more about powers of attorney visit our resources: 

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Issues

Disaster survivors may need to deal with issues regarding domestic violence. Disaster survivors can find help with domestic violence resources after a disaster and understand when and how domestic violence might occur. 

To learn more about domestic violence issues check out the resource:

Disaster survivors might deal with a situation where they need to find out how to get a protective order. Disaster survivors can file a Petition for Protection from abuse and ask the court for either or both a temporary restraining order and a protective order. 

To learn more about getting a protective order check out these resources: 

Disaster survivors might deal with situations of domestic violence in their living situations. Louisiana law prohibits eviction based on domestic abuse under certain circumstances. Disaster survivors can inform themselves about what rights they might have if they find themselves in a situation where they might need to claim protection from eviction. 

To learn more about evictions related to domestic violence check out the resources: 


Disaster survivors may need to move or relocate to another state and might be wondering whether a Louisiana protective order keeps them safe in another state. If they move to another state while the protective order is in effect, then they can call the local courthouse to ask how to transfer the order. 

To learn more about getting a protective order check out the resources: 


Last Review and Update: Sep 12, 2022
Back to top