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Guides and Toolkits

The following management tools are available for download and printing by children and youth program service providers to help conduct and promote their programs. Upgrades for Acrobat Reader software are available at no charge at

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Defense Department guides and toolkits

Caring for Kids After Trauma and Death: A Guide for Parents and Professionals — This guide, developed by the Institute for Trauma and Stress, provides comprehensive insights and suggestions on how school professionals, mental health and family program service providers, and parents can help children facing trauma and death.

Defense Department Special Needs Parent Toolkit — This toolkit is designed to assist service providers in training and assisting military families and leadership to understand and cope with the challenges that face families with special needs.

Defense Department/Youth Sponsorship Toolkit — This planning guide provides installations with a basic step-by-step outline to assist in getting a successful Youth Sponsorship Program started. The toolkit includes resources that serve as road maps to planning and implementation and is designed to be used collaboratively by service providers, youth, schools and youth-serving installation agencies.

Little Listeners in an Uncertain World: Coping Strategies for You and Your Child During Deployment or When a Crisis Occurs — This downloadable pamphlet, published by ZERO TO THREE, is designed to help military families understand how separation and deployment affect young children.

Parent’s Guide to the Military Child During Deployment and Reunion — This guide, sponsored by the Educational Opportunities Directorate of the Defense Department, is designed to assist parents in supporting their children during a deployment.

Other guides and resources

Sesame Workshop “Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployment, Homecoming, Changes” — Sesame Workshop, the makers of Sesame Street, released a video workshop in 2008 that aimed to aid children in understanding and untangling the complex emotions many feel in the midst of a parent’s tour of duty away from home. This video, a follow-up to Sesame Workshop’s previous military video, “When Parents Are Deployed,” broaches the difficult subject of dealing with a parent’s debilitating war injury.

Sesame Street Racial Justice Resources for Military Families — This toolkit provides videos, articles, games and other resources for military families to help children ages 2 to 6 understand what racism is, learn to practice self-care and grow as upstanders.

OneOp — This virtual professional development platform is designed to help service providers build upon their skills in order to be better prepared to address the needs of military families. OneOp provides an annual programming series that covers one multidisciplinary topic that military families may be faced with. OneOp offers service providers free continuing education credits and important DOD-approved programming and enables service providers to access a network of like-minded professionals for discussion and support.

Thrive — This free parenting-education program was developed by the Defense Department in partnership with the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State. Thrive’s interactive resources promote positive parenting, stress management and healthy lifestyle practices for children from birth to 18. Supplemental modules, including content for exceptional families, grandparents as caregivers, mental health and wellness, and more, are added regularly.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network — The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has created informational booklets, Traumatic Grief in Military Children, to be used by educators and medical providers to better serve military children who have suffered a loss and who may be experiencing traumatic grief.

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