Helping Children of Military Families
By Kristin Blank
SAMHSA, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and other Federal agencies offer resources that parents, educators, and other concerned adults can use to help children through the challenges of a parent’s deployment.
The following Web sites were recommended at a breakout session at the recent “Paving the Road Home” conference.
VA Kids offers information appropriate for children in kindergarten through grade 12. A section is also devoted to resources for teachers, providing ideas for activities and age-appropriate information about returning veterans and their needs.
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit organization behind the hit children’s television show “Sesame Street.” The Web site offers three downloadable videos, “Deployments,” “Homecomings,” and “Changes,” featuring some favorite characters dealing with some of the tough issues military children face.
Companion videos and other materials, including a magazine, facilitator guide, and children’s poster, are available for caregivers.
Military Child Education Coalition is a nonprofit organization that identifies the challenges facing the highly mobile military child, increases awareness of these challenges in military and educational communities, and initiates programs to meet the challenges. Its goal is to help military children achieve success wherever they are located around the world. Materials available for educators and caregivers include informational booklets, suggested children’s books, and training courses.
Zero to Three is a nonprofit organization that includes Coming Together Around Military Families, an initiative that increases awareness of the impact of trauma, grief, and loss on very young children, through specialized training and support for the professionals who are supporting military families. Materials include downloadable letters for pediatricians to explain what is happening in the child’s life.
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors is a nonprofit organization that provides a support network for the surviving families of those who have died in military service. Resources are provided on numerous topics, including suicide, grief support, trauma support, and peer support.
SAMHSA’s Web page for veterans includes resources for veterans and their families.