When a parent goes to war, families are deeply affected. Young children may be especially vulnerable to adverse outcomes, because of their emotional dependence on adults and their developing brains’ susceptibility to high levels of stress. Nearly half-a-million children younger than six have an active-duty parent—and some have two.
Just as we properly give attention to the needs of returning combat veterans, we also need to attend to the implications of their war experience for their children. This research brief, adapted from a comprehensive review by Child Trends of the scientific literature, examines the special circumstances that characterize the lives of children in military families, and highlights both what we know and don’t know about how military life affects their well-being.
Military families experience unique challenges that can affect family and home life. This section provides resources for working with military families on topics such as adoption, 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.
Securing quality early care and education (ECE) programs for their young children is vital to military parents at home and when deployed. Pre-K Now, in collaboration with other early childhood advocacy groups, commissioned a survey of military family members with children age five and younger, including Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve personnel or their spouses. The survey was designed to explore the needs and priorities military parents have for their children, the challenges they face in accessing services and the value they place on the programs currently available. This study, conducted in October 2010 by the Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies, found that, most military families, like their civilian peers, do not have access to high-quality early learning and care opportunities. This gap represents one of the most pressing needs for service members, their spouses and their young children.
Head Start State Collaboration Directors facilitate collaboration among Head Start agencies and state and local entities as charged by the Office of Head Start in the Regional Office. Find out more about the priority areas.
Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center