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Parenting and Children – Benefits

Raising a family can be costly. As a service member, you qualify for numerous family benefits that assist with the expenses of the necessary items — education, medical care and child care. Take advantage of all your military benefits, including adoption allowances and grants, to help pay for children’s expenses.

New Parent Support Program

The New Parent Support Program helps military parents, including expectant parents, transition successfully into parenthood and provide a nurturing environment for their young children. The program’s staff consists of nurses, social workers and other parent education professionals that are called Home Visitors. Services provided include:

  • Supportive one-on-one home visits for expectant and current parents where parents can ask questions about children’s growth and development, learn about helpful resources and get support to cope with stressors commonly experienced by new parents
  • Prenatal and parenting classes
  • Play groups

Find out more about this free program at your local military installation.

Tuition-free and reduced-cost education

The Defense Department is committed to making sure all military children have the opportunity for a quality education. Education benefits include:

Medical benefits

  • TRICARE, the DOD’s health care program, is one of your most valuable military benefits that extends to your family. Family members must be enrolled in the DEERS system by the military member or “sponsor” to receive care.
  • Check out TRICARE webinars to learn more.

Military child care programs

You can turn to the DOD for quality, affordable child care options. It’s essential for military parents to have safe and reliable care in place in order to be mission ready. Child care options — both on the installation and off — can put your mind at ease while you work. Consult these resources to help you find the child care that’s the best fit for your family.

  • Contact your installation’s child development center for more information on its child care programs and options.
  • Visit MilitaryChildCare.com to find comprehensive information on military-operated or military-approved child care programs worldwide. Families can utilize this DOD website to search for and request care, manage their requests and update their household profile online — anytime and from anywhere — making it easier for families to find the child care they need. Locate full- and part-time care at facility-based or home-based child care programs, including before- and after-school care, as well as summer and holiday camps.
  • Expanded hourly child care options is a service available through Military OneSource. Military families now have free access to a national database of more than one million caregivers so they can find hourly, flexible and on-demand child care. The service is easy to access and is a virtual solution that allows you to choose, hire and pay providers on your terms. This service is available to anyone who is eligible for Military OneSource services and allows you to search for care, check references, review background checks and interview potential caregivers.
  • Child Care Aware® of America is the third party administrator for Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood, or MCCYN, and MCCYN-PLUS — DOD fee assistance programs available to qualifying families. These programs pay a portion of child care costs on behalf of families who are unable to access installation child care. Visit Child Care Aware® of America to review eligibility requirements and find out how to ensure your provider is licensed and qualified to care for your child.

Adoption benefits

  • Thanks to the Defense Department Adoption Reimbursement Program, you can claim up to $2,000 per child and $5,000 per calendar year in reimbursement for certain adoption expenses.
  • Service members may be eligible for 21 days of non-chargeable adoption leave.
  • Families adopting a child may qualify for a tax credit (up to $14,440 for tax year 2021) to help offset adoption costs. If you can’t use all the credit in one year, it may be carried forward.
  • Learn more about adoption options and benefits for military families.

Military OneSource specialty consultations

Military families can access no-cost consultations for guidance on education, adoption, special needs and other parenting issues. Military OneSource offers specialty consultations with experts trained in a variety of topics to address your issues. Consultants provide:

  • Information about financial aid, scholarships, tutoring and colleges
  • Guidance on specialized doctors, medical-equipment resources and medical benefits for children with special needs
  • Information on military-related financial assistance for adoption and other adoption-related needs
  • Confidential support on a range of parenting issues for expectant parents and parents of children up to age 5

Military OneSource also offers confidential non-medical counseling services via telephone, face-to-face or through secure live video session or online chat.

School Liaison Program

School liaisons are located at each installation and are the main contact for military families, local school systems and installation command for school-related matters pre-K through 12. School liaisons help with transition support before and after a PCS — by providing information on school districts and boundaries, assisting with transfer of credits and class registration, helping locate after-school and extracurricular programs, and setting up tutoring and youth sponsorship referrals. School liaisons can also connect you to the Exceptional Family Member Program and your school’s special education department, as well as help with college, career and military readiness.

School liaison support is free of charge and open to all DOD identification card holders, educators who service military students and community partners involved with pre-K-12 education. Learn more about school liaisons, or contact your local school liaison for help with all your educational needs.

Military and Family Life Counseling Program

Child and youth behavioral military and family life counselors provide support to military children for a variety of issues, including low self-esteem, behavioral problems and changes at home. Contact your installation’s Military and Family Support Center.

While children aren’t free, military families have a surprising number of benefits. See something you want to know more about or are curious about something not listed? Visit Military OneSource or reach out to a consultant today. Call 800-342-9647, set up a live chat or view overseas calling options.

Installation Program Directory

Find programs and services at your local installation.