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 some essential resources and services you can use for help along the way:
The Military Family Readiness System
The Military Family Readiness System is a network of programs and agencies that promotes your family’s resilience and quality of life. Services are wide-ranging and include relocation and deployment assistance, family life education, emergency relief to help with short- and long-term recovery after an emergency, and child abuse prevention services that promote positive parent-child relationships.
Contact your installation Military and Family Support Center for more information about services.
Family wellness resources
- 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 young children and more.
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- FOCUS, or Families OverComing Under Stress, is a program developed to help families and couples overcome common challenges related to a military life. It builds on strengths families already possess and teaches skills to help enhance communication, problem solving, goal setting and more.
- Thrive is an online parenting program with a range of online resources and interactive learning modules which incorporate blended and multimodal learning environments using text, videos and interactive learning formats. The program is designed to empower parents and caregivers as they nurture children from the prenatal period until 18 years of age.
- Sesame Street for Military Families offers a variety of products designed for young military children. Their website offers videos on topics like deployment, homecoming, relocation, self-expression and more. There are also art activities for young children, printable information for parents and a list of helpful links. To help build resilience skills, try the free, downloadable mobile apps for children. Big Moving Adventure helps make moving fun, and Breathe, Think, Do teaches children how to calm down and solve everyday problems.
- For parenting tips on the go, try the free, downloadable Parenting2Go mobile app from the Department of Defense list of recommended wellness apps.
- If you have a family member with special needs, the Exceptional Family Member Program can connect you with resources and services to help your family thrive. Contact your installation EFMP enrollment office for more information.
Child care resources
- MilitaryChildCare.com is a DOD website that helps families in any service branch find and request military-operated child care anywhere in the world. Search for full- and part-time care at child development or family child care programs, including before- and after-school care, as well as summer and holiday camps.
- Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood, or MCCYN, is a DOD fee-assistance program available to qualifying families. This program offsets the cost of child care in community child care programs off the installation for families who are unable to access installation child care. Child Care Aware® of America. is contracted to administer this program on behalf of the DOD. Learn more at Child Care Aware® of America.
- Through Military OneSource, service members and families now have free access to a national database of more than a million caregivers so they can find hourly, flexible and on-demand child care. Learn more about eligibility and how to register for the expanded hourly child care options.
- The Sure Start Program is a full-day preschool program offered to command sponsored eligible military families living overseas. The program provides hands-on, interactive experiences and activities that focus on interest areas such as computers, dramatic play, toys and games, sand and water, library, outdoors, music and movement, cooking, discovery, art and blocks.
- The Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library is a free, online resource for service members and their families that offers a wide variety of activities and materials for all ages. Children can learn to read, explore interests, research school assignments, access professional tutors for homework help and much more.
- The Department of Defense Education Activity parent resources section also offers a wide variety of online educational activities and programs to support children of all ages.
- School liaisons are available through your installation school liaison office to help children get settled in a new school and deal with academic issues. The school liaison program, resources and partnerships help military children thrive academically, socially and emotionally, regardless of duty station, deployments or transition status. School liaison positions were created to provide targeted, professional support at all military installations to assist military families with educational challenges associated with transition, deployment and reintegration.
Youth and teen resources
Explore the wide range of DOD-approved youth and teen resources 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. You can also request a youth sponsor for your child through your installation youth center.
- Military Kids Connect is a website designed to celebrate military children and help them cope with military life challenges like deployment and frequent moves. It offers engaging tools and games, and a safe online place to communicate with other military children. It also provides helpful resources for parents and teachers.
- 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 Partnerships website to learn more.
- DOD 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 contact your installation youth center.
Military OneSource specialty consultations
Military OneSource specialty consultations enable parents to speak with specialists in various areas of expertise, including adoption, education, special needs and more. These flexible, virtual consultations can be accessed from any location. The New MilParent specialty consultation, designed for expectant parents and parents of children up to the age of 5, provides support for a wide range of parenting issues. In addition to specialty consultations, child and youth behavioral counselors are available through the Military and Family Life Counseling Program. Counselors are located in almost every installation child development and youth center and many schools with high concentrations of military-connected students.
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. Call 800-342-9647, use OCONUS dialing options or schedule a live chat with a parenting consultant.