Does your parent center regularly ask if a parent or spouse is active duty military? Is this question incorporated into your “best practices” to reach underserved families? Even if your state or area doesn’t have a big active-duty installation, it’s a great idea to ask if a parent is active duty military as they may:
- Need connections in the civilian community and be too new to the area to have searched on their own, or because English may be a second language, they have no reliable transportation or other reasons that may be applicable your state or region.
- Benefit from a Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver program in your state.
- Have a child or youth with a very recent mental health diagnosis.
- Have a child or youth with a recent “moderate to severe” autism spectrum diagnosis.
- Are relocating to another state.
Some suggestions in response to the top 5 reasons above to assist a military-connected family (your parent center may already be doing some or all of them):
- Offer Parent support or activity groups and programs, youth support and activity groups and programs, agency service provider contacts, connections within schools and LEAs.
- Military parents have awesome volunteer capabilities and giving back is part of their military culture. They offer an often-untapped volunteer source for members on advisory committees, your parent center board, and more!
- Use and share ECHO Parent Handout, Medicaid Parent Handout
- Learn and share how TRICARE (military health care) has recently expanded mental health treatment options for military children and youth. Substance abuse disorder options have also expanded. Parents may not be aware of all the options. You can share this link: https://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/Mental/Treatments
- Learn and share how TRICARE provides Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, and the family has a few steps to take first. Start them with this link: https://www.tricare.mil/Plans/SpecialPrograms/ACD
- Set them up with a contact at the parent center in their new state, or one nearest to their location: parentcenterhub.org
Your co-workers are probably already using some if not many of the suggestions. Being intentional about asking if a family is active duty has many additional benefits for your center’s individual technical assistance, training, and resourceprovision. A number of the suggestions above can form the basis for developing military friendly parent handouts to use for trainings, resource fairs and in your individual technical assistance.
5 Top Reasons Staff Handout: share the impact of your parent center with military-connected families. Use it for your reports, Language Access Plan, for ideas to launch new resources and to share among your team. Do you have other ideas in relation to this resource? Let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll update the listing with your suggestions.