As a service member, you have access to a number of resources that can assist you with each phase of parenthood – from those sleep-deprived nights with your newborn to the busy days of helping your teen prepare for college. Here are a few essential resources and services that can meet your needs:
The New Parent Support Program
The New Parent Support Program provides one-on-one support for new and expectant parents through services that include:
- Home visits from specialists, nurses and social workers to answer your questions about sleep, nutrition, behavior management, breastfeeding and other concerns.
- Prenatal classes on topics including feeding and nutrition, bathing and preventative health care.
- Parenting classes, playgroups for the kids and more.
The Family Readiness System
The Family Readiness System is a network of programs and agencies that promotes your family’s readiness and quality of life. Services are wide-ranging and include mobility and deployment assistance, relocation assistance related to permanent change-of-station moves, family life education, emergency family assistance that promotes short- and long-term recovery after an emergency, and child abuse prevention and services that promote positive parent-child relationships.
Visit any installation-based Military and Family Support Center for services or inquire through individual service branches.
- FOCUS, or Families OverComing Under Stress, offers support for families, including parents with young children, in readiness for tomorrow. FOCUS builds on their current strengths and teaches new strategies that support resilience. During FOCUS, families practice perspective-taking and become closer by developing a shared understanding of their experience. FOCUS services are available through the virtual TeleFOCUS program, allowing families to meet with a FOCUS Provider using video teleconference.
Child care referrals
- Search for comprehensive information on military-operated or military-approved child care programs worldwide with the Department of Defense website MilitaryChildCare.com.
- Explore your installation’s resource and referral office that can help you find child care providers on and off the installation close to where you work or live.
- Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood, or MCCYN, is a Department of Defense fee assistance program available to qualifying families. This program pays a portion of child care costs on behalf of families who are unable to access installation child care. Child Care Aware® of America is contracted to administer this program on behalf of the Department of Defense. Learn more at Child Care Aware of America.
- Sign up for the Pregnancy and New Parent Knowledge Management Program to receive pregnancy, parenting and breastfeeding digital education on a regular basis.
Head Start and Sure Start
- The national Head Start Program teaches reading, math and other key skills to kids ages 5 and younger before they start kindergarten. Your family is eligible for services if you have a low income, are raising a foster child, or have a child with special needs.
- The Sure Start Program provides Head Start-like services to families living overseas. The program is open primarily to 4-year-old children of command-sponsored service members.
The Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library
The Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library is full of resources for children and teens that will keep them reading, help with research projects and other school assignments and more.
Military Kids Connect
Military Kids Connect offers engaging tools and games; helps children, pre-teens and teens prepare for the challenges around family transitions; and provides resources for parents and teachers.
Youth and teen programs
Explore a wide range of Department of Defense youth and teen programs which can help your child make friends, stay active and develop new skills.
- Installation youth centers offer computer labs, special field trips, gymnasiums, music rooms, game rooms, sponsorship programs, and volunteer and employment opportunities.
- Mission Youth Outreach links the military services with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to help meet the needs of families who may not live near installation services.
- Military youth can join 4-H clubs in their community, and participate in summer camps around the country. Visit the 4-H Military Partnership website to learn more.
- Department of Defense summer camps may be a great addition to your child’s summer lineup. To find a camp or summer activity on your installation, visit MilitaryChildCare.com or MilitaryINSTALLATIONS and select Youth Programs/Centers from the drop-down menu.
Military OneSource specialty consultations
Military OneSource specialty consultations give parents a resource to speak to specialists with various areas of expertise. They include the New MilParent specialty consultation, designed for expectant parents and parents of children up to the age of 5, providing support for a wide range of parenting issues.
If it takes a village to raise a child, you’re in luck as a service member. Your military community offers you a broad range of resources and services to help you be the best parent you can be. Contact Military OneSource today with any questions or to chat with a parenting consultant.