Resources for Supporting
Understanding the unique challenges and stresses faced by military families is important for professionals working with this population and will help military children to thrive—no matter where in the world their family may go next.
As of 2020, the Department of Defense reported there are 1.6 million children of active duty and reserve military in the United States. Military families experience many challenges and unique experiences throughout a servicemember’s career, particularly in times of deployment and transition. On average, military families move every two to three years, resulting in disruption to children’s schooling and family support networks.
Military children experience the same forms of maltreatment as children in the general population and since 2003, rates of child maltreatment and family violence in military families have outpaced the rates reported for non-military families. This increase coincides with the post-9/11 rise in overseas military operations and deployments and the return of service members with physical and behavioral health issues. (source: National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
While the risk of child maltreatment in military populations has increased, so has the number of system-wide resources and services available for prevention, the involvement of community providers, and the application of evidence-based treatments for the whole family system. CalTrin has put together a list of organizations and agencies that have dedicated resources specifically designed to support military families.
American Red Cross
Connect military families to resources through the American Red Cross’ Services for Military Members, Veterans, and Military Families portal. Service topics include:
- Emergency Connection
- Financial Assistance
- Information & Referrals
- Military and Veteran Caregiver Network
Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
The Center advances psychological health and resilience through trauma research, education, and consultation focused on war, trauma, and disaster and its effects on servicemembers, units, families, and the nation’s communities. Browse their collection of more than 40 Military Fact Sheets, which includes guides targeted to both military families and providers. A sample of topics include:
- Helping Children Cope During Deployment
- Strengthening Military Families to Support Children’s Well-Being
- Understanding Post Deployment Stress Symptoms: Helping Your Loved Ones
- What Military Families Should Know About Depression
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Child Welfare Information Gateway has a dedicated section on their site for Working With Military Families. This section provides resources for those working with military families and features topics such as child abuse and neglect, prevention, deployment, domestic violence, and mental health stressors, as well as information on an array of services that are designed to support military families:
- Child Abuse, Neglect, and Prevention in Military Families
- Deployment Resources for Families
- Domestic Violence in Military Families
- Supporting Behavioral Health in Military Families
Elizabeth Dole Foundation
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation empowers, supports, and honors our nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers; the spouses, parents, family members, and friends who care for America’s wounded, ill, or injured veterans. The Foundation’s programs provide military and veteran caregivers the support they need at the local, state, and national levels. Explore resources from the Foundation, including:
- Hidden Heroes
- Hidden Helpers at the Frontlines of Caregiving: Supporting the Healthy Development of Children from Military and Veteran Caregiving Home
- Supporting the Healthy Development of Children from Military and Veteran Caregiving Homes
Military OneSource is a 24/7 connection to information, answers, and support to help military personnel and their families overcome challenges and thrive. Their Parenting & Children section is a wealth of free parenting resources, benefits, and programs designed to help parents navigate:
- Parenting Infants and Toddlers
- Parenting Youth and Teens
- Parenting Through Deployment
Military OneSource also offers services and programs related to relationship counseling, non-medical counseling for stress relief, financial counseling, and much more. View their complete collection of MilLife topics.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
NCTSN has developed an extensive collection of resources designed to help providers and military and veteran families address the unique challenges associated with military life and culture. A sample of resources from their Military and Veteran Families Resource Library include:
- Childhood Traumatic Grief: Information for Military Parents and Caregivers
- Child Maltreatment in Military Families: A Fact Sheet for Providers
- Evidence-Based Treatments: Elements or Adaptations for Military Family-Informed Care
- Understanding Child Trauma and Resilience: For Military Parents and Caregivers
- Working Effectively with Military Families: 10 Key Concepts All Providers Should Know
Another great resource from NCTSN is their Child Maltreatment in Military Families: A Fact Sheet for Providers. Many of the evidence-based intervention strategies featured in this Fact Sheet have been reviewed (and some Scientifically Rated) by our partner project, California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare. You can access more information about these interventions through their Program Registry.
Sesame Street for Military Families
Military kids may experience BIG feelings—and that’s OK! Sesame Street for Military Families provides resources, tools, and games to help military families talk, listen, and connect. Topics include:
Beyond parent resources, there is also a dedicated Providers section, which features instructions on how to engage families on specific military life events. The Sesame Street for Military Families website and all resources are available in both English and Spanish.
United States Department of Defense
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is America’s largest government agency. Their mission is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation’s security. The DoD dedicates resources, services, policies, and programs to support the more than 2 million uniformed service members and 2.6 million family members across the globe. Use their Military Family Support portal to find referrals for Parents, Spouses, Children, Moving/Deployments, Finances, Online Learning, Health & Wellness, and more.
Sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy, Month of the Military Child is celebrated every April as way to acknowledge military families and their children for the daily sacrifices and the challenges they overcome. For child- and family-serving professionals working with military families, learn about different activities and additional supports available during Month of the Military Child.
Extend Your Learning with CalTrin!
CalTrin’s innovative learning model enables child- and family-serving professionals to choose training and educational experiences that work for your schedule, learning style, and career path—all at no cost to learners. It also provides opportunities to extend learning beyond an individual training event by supporting participants with related resources and practical applications. For professionals working with military families, we invite you to view our Calendar for upcoming webinar and small group opportunities!