The strains of parenting are perhaps felt most keenly by our military families who must deal with life threatening danger, multiple deployments, repeated moves, and separation from extended family. Almost half of all active duty members have children and nearly 40 percent of these children are under 5. More than a third of first-time military parents are 21 years old or younger; many are living apart from extended family. These families deserve support to help them in their role as parents.
Parents as Teachers National Center has entered into a partnership with the Department of Army to provide parenting support services to young military parents through a program called Heroes at Home. This uniquely tailored program provides specialized home visiting services for military families that address their unique needs.
We recommend that this program be brought to scale so that military families in all service branches, including the guard and reserve, who have children up to kindergarten entry age will be able to benefit from these home visitation services.
Your Parents as Teachers Friends
There was more sad news on the military front this week, and I’m not talking about death, injuries or bombings: military families are divorcing at a higher rate than at any other time in the past 16 years according to a story in USA Today.
What’s even more depressing is that almost half of all active duty service members have children … nearly 40 percent of whom are under 5. More than a third of first-time military parents are just 21 years old or younger! Is anyone truly surprised with this new divorce statistic?
There is a silver lining to this dark cloud, however. Parents as Teachers Heroes at Home programs are bringing professional parenting support and child development information right to the homes of these young military families. This unique program builds on and enhances existing military support programs by addressing areas that help families with young children adapt to military life, such as the informal support networks that have been repeatedly cited by military spouses as critical to coping with military life.
For the past two years or so, Parents as Teachers has been honored to be able to provide parenting support services to military families on 13 military installations across the country under a contract administered by U.S. Army Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Child, Youth and School (CYS) Services. Through this special program we call our Heroes at Home program, these families receive all the same services as the non-military families our other programs serve (personal visits; group meetings; health, hearing, vision and development screenings; and resource referrals), but they also receive additional parenting support around things they alone experience…deployment, reunification, and relocation, for example.
It’s our honor to serve them, and on this day in particular, we also thank them for all they do for us.