Making sure military children are cared for and ensuring that a variety of programs and services are in place to support the unique needs of military children, youth and families is a high priority of the Defense Department. Children, Youth and Families programs and initiatives are designed to support military youth as their needs change over time — so that military parents and children thrive every step of the way.

Your school liaison can assist with your child’s school transition.

School liaisons are your primary point of contact for all school-related matters, especially a school transition. The school liaison at your current installation can connect you to your new installation school liaison who will help smooth the transition to your child’s new school. Let your school liaison help you and your family navigate school selection and youth sponsorship during this time of change.

Whether it’s connecting with peers, getting settled in a new home, finding recreational opportunities or expanding on STEM or robotics interests, the DOD understands that it’s important to engage military youth and teens in extracurricular activities and interests in which they feel safe, grounded and understood. Military OneSource offers several ways youth and teens can build a sense of community, helping you keep your family strong.

Connect your child to installation youth and teen programs.

Youth and teen programs are designed to support military children as they cross the bridge from childhood into adulthood. Child and Youth programs provide safe, developmentally-appropriate places for your child to socialize and grow, as well as provide space to help young people make friends, stay active and develop new skills. Check out programs exclusive to military families that keep your youth and teen engaged in inspiring activities.

  • Installation youth centers — Your local youth center offers access to everything from computer labs and music rooms to gyms, game rooms and more. Youth centers are available on every installation where families PCS and are staffed with trained professionals who understand how to connect with youth and support them through moves and deployment. The continuity of programming is important to help military-connected youth make smooth transitions between installations and develop meaningful connections in their new communities.
  • Military partnerships — Youth centers and staff can help your teen connect to important growth opportunities, including partnerships with 4-H and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Youth of the Year, summer camps and leadership programs like Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Keystone Club.
  • Military teen adventure camps — Military teen adventure camps offer high energy and high adventure experiences across the United States. These camps include excursions like sailing, kayaking and survival experiences and are available to teens ages 13 to 18. Deployment support camps provide a safe space where your youth or teen can build a supportive network of other military youth who may have similar experiences.

Explore ways to help your military youth connect with peers who understand frequent moves, deployment and overall military experience.

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Discover Military Kids Connect.

Service families have access to an engaging website that helps youth and teens connect to an online community of other military youth, prepare for upcoming moves and have fun with interactive tools. The site offers forums for children to share their own ideas, experiences and suggestions with other military children, resources for helping youth and teens appreciate military life, tours of your next installation and more. Military Kids Connect also has great information to help adults understand what it takes to support military youth and teens at home and at school.

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Explore military partnerships.

Your child may have countless friends on social media, but nothing beats that face-to-face interaction in a new environment. In addition, connecting with peers who understand the challenges associated with military life can help decrease stress. Boys & Girls Clubs of America and 4-H Military Partnership offer numerous social and learning opportunities designed to support military youth who don’t live on installation or close to a youth center.

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America — The military services work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to provide access to clubs around the country. The program offers children between the ages of 6 and 18 a solid support network that provides a sense of belonging, ongoing relationships with caring adults and a safe and healthy environment to develop lifelong skills.
  • 4-H Military Partnership — Through a collaboration with land grant university partners, 4-H Military Partnership focuses on positive youth development by providing opportunities for youth to engage in intentional learning experiences.

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Help your child transition.

Even though military youth and teens are used to moving, they may still experience some apprehension. Military OneSource and military installations provide information to make the moving process smoother for youth and teens. Check out the many ways you can support all aspects of a move:

  • Moving support — Military OneSource offers a variety of ways you can make the move easier for your military children. School liaisons can help with all of your educational needs. School liaisons are the main contact for military families, local school systems and installation command for school-related matters pre-K through 12. Local school liaisons help with transition support before and after a PCS and assist military-connected children with Interstate Compact compliance.
  • Youth sponsorship — Help your children and teens to make smooth transitions to their new home and school. Your local school liaison or local youth center can make the referral for youth sponsorship before your move.
  • Youth employment support — Military OneSource offers resources to help your teen land a job and be a reliable employee. Find ways to help you teen get ready for a new job at your new installation. Installation youth centers can also assist teens with employment opportunities.
  • College and career preparation — Help your teen stay on track for future plans. Find out what resources are available to your teen before and after your move to stay on course.
  • Children and youth behavioral counseling — Help your children learn how to develop healthy ways to deal with stress and life’s curveballs. The Military and Family Life Counseling Program can help with a parent’s deployment, a family move or the general pressures of teen life.

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Your military community offers you and your family a broad range of resources and services to help your youth and teens thrive in school and beyond. Contact Military OneSource today with any questions. Call 800-342-9647, use OCONUS dialing options or schedule a live chat.