For some military kids, Memorial Day has a deeply personal meaning. They belong to a special group of families that Parent Center staff may encounter: Gold Star Families. Gold Star Families have lost a loved one in military service to our country. These families need support and resources to help their children deal with the impact of their parent’s death, and to help the adults cope with their new reality.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors is one such resource. They have seminars, retreats, camps, and peer networking opportunities. They also offer support groups, online communities, outreach and a 24-hour helpline (800-959-8277).

Another organization that aids Gold Star Families is The Office of Survivors Assistance (OSA). OSA is a program from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. They advocate for and provide support to family members trying to access benefits and services.

Children in Gold Star Families have experienced a traumatic loss. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has a wealth of resources to help professionals work with families whose children are experiencing traumatic grief. They have even created a resource guide called “What is Complex Trauma, A Resource Guide for Youth and Those Who Care About Them.”

If your Parent Center is working with a Gold Star Family or if you would like more information about military families, please contact us.

For a PDF version of this document, please contact us at thebranch@wapave.org or by calling 253.565.2266, ext. 112