Find Partners for Outreach to Veterans’ Families

In helping new veterans’ families navigate civilian services and systems, the Branch highlighted situations where parent centers can make a crucial difference.  New veterans’ families are those whose service member has recently transitioned to civilian life. They may be new residents or have lived for years in your state but are now new to all its resources as civilians and parents of a child with a disability. These families may have always used military-provided supports and services and may not even know parent centers exist.

How will veterans’ families know about your parent center?

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3 Training Resources for Parent Centers: for staff and families

The Military Families Learning Network (MFLN)is a project of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the US Department of Agriculture through the Cooperative Extension Service.

For Parent Centers: These items were selected for their usefulness for your staff development and your coworkers and as parent resources.

  1. Keys to Establishing Trust: Seven Attributes & Three Exercises for Providers

A thought-provoking set of training exercises on establishing trust with military families or indeed any family or individual.

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Key Topics on the minds of military families

Feature your parent center’s information, training and resources on these topics to reach and assist military families:

  • State-specific Information
  • Moving and your child’s IEP
  • Community resources at your new duty station

Highlighting these three key areas using language familiar to military-connected families (“PCSing”) demonstrates your parent center’s knowledge of the issues they face.

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2 Super-Easy Ways to Show Your Support for Military-Connected Families with Month of the Military Child

Month of the Military Child (MoMC) happens every April.

Your center’s visible celebration of MoMC encourages military families to come to you when they need help. They’ll know you have made efforts to learn about and understand their needs, their world, and the challenges their children face.

How?

  • Customize and use the supplied graphics and content
  • Share events happening during MoMC
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Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) is a mandatory* Department of Defense program that helps military dependents with special needs. The Coast Guard, which operates under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security has a similar program called the Special Needs Program, or SNP.

* EFMP is mandatory, primarily so a family member’s needs may be considered during the duty assignment process. However, some families do not enroll because they believe the program requirements are not worth the benefits to them, or they perceive the program as limiting the service member’s duty assignment options, and thus his or her career.

EFMP Family Support staff, along with an installation’s School Liaison, are the primary points of contact for parent centers for holding installation-based trainings, access to meet with families on installations, and insider information about installation support programs and family engagement.

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Alex’s Education Journey: Reflections & Tips by a Military Connected Youth with Disabilities

Alex is a young man who considers himself a “military brat”; he grew up in an Air Force family. He’s also one of the Branch’s military-connected consultants who help us with research, writing, and their lived experiences in the military community. Alex is an individual living with a disability which did not significantly affect his education.

Here is Alex’s education journey:

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Scholarships! Financial Resources for Military and Non-military Youth with Disabilities

A college education can be extremely expensive, and debt from student loans can impact students and their families for years. Military parents may have financial challenges paying for college as military salaries and benefits don’t always stretch to cover today’s higher education costs. Earning scholarships is an excellent way to lower future monthly payments; some scholarship awards completely cover annual college expenses!

Below are two resources: scholarships for military-connected youth, and scholarships for youth with disabilities. The lists include awards for two- and four-year undergraduate degrees, graduate studies and vocational programs. All scholarships are national in scope; a few are international. Youth and their families may find scholarships that fit their needs or inspiration for a further search. Parent centers:  feel free to select and share the most relevant scholarships for the families you serve. These lists are great for youth outreach, email campaigns, social media, workshops, support groups, resource fairs and newsletters.

2 Quick Resources for Military Families Moving Overseas

Military parents whose children have disabilities may have concerns about moving their child from a stateside school (public or Department of Defense) to a school in another country where their school options are limited and laws protecting individuals with disabilities are not the same. Here are two quick resources for these parents to give them a jump-start on their research and decision-making:

Military Children Transitioning into the DoDEA School System (podcast from the Military Child Education Coalition, with Dr. Dell W. McMullen, Europe Director for Student Excellence, Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)

Department of Defense Directory on Early Intervention, Special Education and Related Services in OCONUS Communities (“OCONUS” – Outside the Continental United States)

And here is some more in-depth information about Department of Defense Education Activity schools and Special Education:

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) School System

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