Month of the Military Child (April 2014)

04/2014

April is the Month of the Military Child. This awareness month was established to underscore the important role children play in the Armed Forces community. There are approximately 2 million military children, ranging in ages from newborn to 18 years old; 1.3 million military children are school-aged. Care of military children sustains our fighting force, and strengthens the health, security, and safety of our nation's families and communities. The Network offers special thanks to all the NCTSN sites that provide care and support for our military children and families. To find out more about military children and families click here.

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NCTSN Military and Veteran Families Resources

Military Children and Families

Military and Veteran Families Learning Community

In 2008 the NCTSN launched the Military Families Learning Community Master Speaker Series and Podcasts as a course in the NCTSN Learning Center for Child and Adolescent Trauma. The podcast series, "Essentials for Those Who Care for Military Children and Families," features 20-minute presentations from top military experts discussing army, navy, air force, and marine corps cultures; mental health services available for active duty, veteran, National Guard and Reserve personnel; the impact of deployment on military children and families; becoming a TRICARE provider; Military OneSource; and building community capacity to serve military families. The Speaker Series offers longer webinars on additional topics. All Learning Center presentations are free. 

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Featured Resources in Celebration of the Month of the Military Child

Courage to Care to Talk... About War Injuries 
A campaign to foster communication around the injuries of war that debuted during April 2011's Month of the Military Child. Provides military treatment sites with free resources in English and Spanish including brochures, posters, tabletops, and a dedicated website. Developed by the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress and its Child and Family Program, the campaign connects families to providers in hospitals who can answer their questions, talk with them about their children, refer them to appropriate resources, and address other concerns related to their loved one's injury.

Military Families Near and Far
A Sesame Workshop collection of resources for military families.

Military Kids Connect (MKC)
The MKC website uses innovative ways to help military youth cope with the unique strains of military life. In addition to disruptions from parents deploying to assignments away from home, military children are affected by moving frequently, changing schools and making new friends. They also have to live with readjustment issues when a parent returns from deployments. These issues may include posttraumatic stress and physical disabilities. Features include: Military culture videos and lesson plans for teachers, school counselors, and educators to better understand the differences between military and civilian youth.

  • Graphic novels and mini-documentaries by military kids sharing their experiences.
  • New modules for children and parents on handling grief, loss, and physical injury.

MilitaryKidsConnect.org was created by the Defense Department’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology, known as T2.

Operation Purple®
A free week-long summer camp program offering military kids a place to have fun and make friends, reminding them that they are our nation's youngest heroes. The goal is to "empower military children and their families to develop and maintain healthy and connected relationships." Created by the National Military Family Association in 2004, the camps are joint (or "purple")—open to children and families of all active duty, National Guard, and Reserve service members of all branches. Now serving 45,000 military children and teens, the program also includes four-day family retreats in National Parks, and family camps for "active duty or medically retired service members who were wounded or experienced emotional trauma or illness related to their service in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom." Camp locations, dates, and contact information will be available when registration opens on March.

When Families Grieve
A Sesame Workshop program developed to help children heal after the death of a parent. Includes two outreach kits (one for military families and one for the general public), available in English and Spanish. The program is part of the workshop's award-winning Talk, Listen, Connect initiative, which provides resources and emotional support to military families with young children coping with the challenging transitions in their lives including deployments and combat-related injury.

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For Advocates and Policy Makers

National Center for Children in Poverty

  • Trauma Faced by Children of Military Families: What Every Policymaker Should Know (2010) (PDF)
    Presents the multiple stressors that children of active duty military personnel, National Guard, and Reservists often experience during their parents' multiple deployments. Includes 2010 statistics on the 1.76 million children and youth in military families. Topics are: Impact of Deployments on Children’s Mental Health including mental health, trauma, and related problems; Role of Employment Status on Child Outcomes; Resilience and Importance of Support Systems; Inadequacy of Military and Civilian Mental Health Systems for Addressing the Problems Faced by Children and Families of Military Personnel; and Effective Public Policies Can Improve Mental Health Outcomes for Children of Military Families.

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For Educators

American Association of School Administrators

Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)

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For Families and Communities

Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury
“Assesses, validates, oversees and facilitates prevention, resilience, identification, treatment, outreach, rehabilitation, and reintegration programs for psychological health (PH) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) to ensure the Department of Defense meets the needs of the nation's military communities, warriors and families.”

Military One Source
“Department of Defense website for official Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) program information, policy and guidance designed to help troops and their families, leaders, and service providers.”

National Military Family Association
An organization that is comprised of and works on behalf of military to "empower husbands, wivesm and children to understand and access their benefits."

  • 10 Things Military Teens Want You to Know (2008) (PDF)
    Tips developed from a four-year project that surveyed military children about their experiences while attending Operation Purple® camps, a national summer camp program for children of service members. Designed to help the people who are in the lives of military teens in managing the stressors and affirming the positive aspects of military life; explains some points shared by the campers; includes resources to incorporate into readers' own activities, programs, and day-to-day interactions with the military teens in their life.
  • Finding Common Ground: A Toolkit for Communities Supporting Military Families (2011) 
    Offers "easily-achievable action items and useful resources to guide anyone who wants to support military families, but doesn’t know where to start." 

Our Military Kids
Provides substantial support through grants to the children of National Guard and Military Reserve personnel currently deployed overseas and to the children of Wounded Warriors in all branches.

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Courage to Care Campaign
Electronic health campaign for military and civilian professionals who serve the military community, and for military men, and families. Includes fact sheets on timely health topics relevant to military life that provide actionable information. Developed by leading military health experts from the university. 

Helping Children Cope During Deployment (2006) (PDF)
Developed by "experts in military medicine and family trauma who understand the impact of delopyment on families." Includes Commonly Asked Questions from Parents About Delopyment, General Tips for Communicating With Chidlren of All Ages, and Additional Resources.

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For Mental Health and Medical Professionals

Zero to Three: Coming Together Around Military Families

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