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United States Department of Defense - Defense.gov
Threat Advisory Defcon alert - Elevated

April 2010 - Month of the Military Child

Military Family Services Programs

Air Force Camps

  • Air Force Space Camp
    Space Camp is hosted by the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville Ala. Space Academy and Advanced Space Academy are available for youth ages 12 to 18.
  • Air Force Aviation Camps
    Aviation Camps are hosted by the U.S. Air Force Academy. Teen Aviation Camp is designed to give all attendees a leadership experience that will help them determine if aviation or the Air Force Academy is their career choice.

FitFactor

FitFactor encourages physical activity and healthy eating selections for youth 6 to 18 years old. The program stimulates interest and awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and encourages youth to “Get Up, Get Out and Get Fit!”

Air Force Youth of the Year

In conjunction with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America program, Air Force Youth of the Year recognizes children’s outstanding contributions to members' family, school community and youth center, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome. Youth of the Year attend a teen leadership camp such as the General Shelton Leadership Challenge or Presidential Classroom.

Live, Work, and Play

This deployment program provides families of deployed members free child and youth classes, sports programs and hourly child care during the parent’s deployment. It also provides for free family recreation programs for either the family left at home during deployment or upon return of the member.

Sesame Workshop Partnership

This partnership with Sesame Workshop’s Talk, Listen, Connect initiative provides support and significant resources to military families with children experiencing the effects of deployment, multiple deployments or changes to a parent due to combat-related injury.

Baby Signs

This is a research-based program that teaches infant and toddlers to use simple, easy-to-do gestures to communicate wants and needs and how they feel to parents and caregivers. This program has been incorporated into the Defense Department’s child development curricula at approximately 80 installations.

Coming Together Around Military Families

This program provides technical assistance and on-site personnel support to help deal with issues related to infants and toddlers. Resources and materials provide updated information related to healthy development in young children. Materials include flyers and posters, books about the connection between parent and child, and kits with these items and other articles with tips for supporting military families with infants and toddlers.

Operation Military Kids

This is a collaborative support effort through National 4-H Headquarters with America’s communities to support military children impacted by deployment and military members geographically dispersed from military installations. Primary focus is on National Guard and Reserve families.

Mission Youth Outreach

This is a services-sponsored youth outreach program partnered with Boys and Girls Clubs of America. The program allows dispersed active, Guard and Reserve youth to attend a local Boys and Girls Club chapter at no cost to the family.

Parents as Teachers

This is a parent education and family support program to enhance child development and school readiness through accessible parent education. Personal home visits, annual development and health screenings, group meetings, and professional development and training are offered.

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Exceptional Family Member Program – Respite Care

This program provides temporary rest periods for family members responsible for regular care of persons with disabilities.

Family Child Care Online

Family Child Care Online provides parents with information about home-based child care options. It also allows child care providers to showcase their services and allows Child, Youth and School Services to monitor and fill child vacancies, all from a Web-based interface.

Shaken Baby Avoidance Briefings

This program provides new parents with information on coping with inconsolable crying prior to an infant’s discharge from the hospital.

4-H Army Youth Development Project

This alliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and 14 land grant universities provides garrisons and geographically dispersed families with a wide range of support including youth technology labs to helping deliver outreach services through Operation: Military Kids to individual 4-H clubs on installations and professional development training of child and youth staff.

Operation Military Kids

This collaborative effort with America’s communities offers support to children and youth impacted by deployment. The program provides youth program opportunities for school age, middle school and teenaged youth and connects them to support resources where they live.

New Parent Support Program

Program provides professional social workers and nurses who offer supportive and caring services to military families with children from birth to 3 years old. It provides opportunities to learn to cope with stress, isolation, post deployment, reunions, and the everyday demands of parenthood.

Army Reserve Enrichment Camp

In collaboration with community partners, Child Youth and School Services provides a week-long residential camp for Army Reserve youth. The camp focuses on building resiliency in youth, connecting them to each other and caring professionals in their communities.

National Guard Youth Development Program

Program supports the mission of improving family readiness by ensuring excellence in youth services.

STARBASE

STARBASE is a premier educational program, sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. Students participate in challenging "hands-on, mind-on" activities in aviation, science, technology, engineering, math, and pace exploration. Students learn teamwork, goal setting, and the importance of staying off drugs. The program provides students with 20 to 25 hours of experiences at National Guard, Navy, Marine, Air Force Reserve and Air Force bases across the nation.

Our Military Kids

Provides tangible support to children of deployed National Guard and Reserve personnel as well as to children of severely injured servicemembers through grants for enrichment activities and tutoring. Grants are made to honor the sacrifices that military families make and to ensure that their children have access to sports, fine arts or academic tutoring programs.

National Guard Youth Symposium

State and territory youth coordinators and selected state and territory youth representatives attend this annual event, which addresses the challenges of being a child with a family member in the National Guard.

Child Development Programs
Child Care, School Age Care, Family Child Care, Resource and Referral Program

This provides quality, affordable care for ages 6 weeks to 18 in a variety of settings on and off the installation, including child development centers, family child care, school age care, and youth and teen activities. Also participates in numerous partnerships to provide services to children, youth and teens with agencies such as Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood, Child Care for Families of Severely Injured Military Members, Operation Parenting Edge, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Mission Youth Outreach, Parents as Teachers-Heroes at Home and Coming Together Around Military Families. Offers enhanced extended child care options for Marines who work shift work or long hours due to deployments and offers 16 hours per month of reimbursed respite care to families of deployed Marines.

New Parent Home Visitation Program

A secondary child abuse and neglect prevention program using an intensive, voluntary, home visitation model for at-risk parents to reduce risk for child maltreatment and strengthen protective factors. Home visitations provide the opportunity for new parents to receive extra support in child development, infant care and social support.

Nurturing America’s Military Families

Specifically designed to improve the nurturing parenting skills of parents in the military with children from birth to 11 years old. Parents and parent educators work cooperatively to create parenting programs that meet the assessed needs of the families.

School Liaisons Program

Positions have been created to work with school districts and Army, Marine Corps and Navy families to ensure that the pressures facing military children are well understood by teachers and school officials.

Navy Exceptional Family Member Program

This is a multidisciplinary assignment program that interfaces with other military and civilian agencies to provide comprehensive and coordinated medical, educational, community support to military families with special needs.

Give Parents a Break

This program provides child care at no cost to parents who are subject to unique stresses due to military deployments, remote tours of duty and extended working hours. Air Force Child Development Programs have joined with Air Force Aid Society to provide this service for parents referred by base agencies.

Exceptional Family Member Program

The Exceptional Family Member Program provides support to military family members with special needs. Services include a variety of personnel, medical and family support functions. The Exceptional Family Member Program - Family Support is the community support function provided by the Airman and Family Readiness Centers that includes community education on the program, information and referral services, support groups, targeted relocation assistance, financial management and schools and educational options information.

There are 1.7 million American children and youth under 18 with a parent serving in the military and about 900,000 with one or both parents deployed multiple times.

April is designated as the Month of the Military Child, underscoring the important role military children play in the armed forces community. The Month of the Military Child is an opportunity to recognize military children and youth for their heroism, character, courage, sacrifices and continued resilience.

PHOTOS

A young girl talks to her father, Sgt. Jeff Gerbier, as he rides a bus with the fellow Marines returning from Iraq and traveling to their Brooklyn, N.Y., headquarters, Nov. 25, 2009. He is assigned to the 6th Communications Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Randall A. Clinton