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Children in Military Families

In Focus: Children in Military Families

  • Nearly 44% of active duty military members, and 43% of Reserve members, have children—an average of two children per military family. There are currently 1.2 million children of active duty military members worldwide.[1]

  • Approximately 2 million children in military families have experienced a parent’s deployment since 2001.[2] During that time, 41,000 children have experienced a deployed service member parent being killed, wounded, injured, or seriously ill.[3]

  • Military family moves may provide both positive and negative experiences for children, including increased family cohesiveness and resilience as well as stress and loneliness.[4]

Key Strategies for Inclusion

  • Initiate contact. Identify military-connected children in the school and initiate contact with their families.

  • Support successful transitions. Develop strategies to help military families move through key transition issues. Be flexible with meetings and events to accommodate military schedules.

  • Facilitate educational continuity. Facilitate continuity in educational progress, records and placement by talking with children, parents, teachers and school administrators.

  • Recognize sensitive issues. Provide guidelines for families and teachers to discuss issues related to military action.

  • Advocate for military children and families. Consult the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

PTA Resources

  • National PTA Military Alliance for Parents and Partners (MAPP) is a group of organizations that work together to provide resources to and advocate for military-connected families. MAPP partners include the following:
    • Association of the United States Army (AUSA)
    • S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) 
    • Military Children Education Coalition (MCEC)
    • Military Impacted Schools Association (MISA)
    • National Military Family Association (NMFA)

Other Resources

[1] Clever, M., & Segal, D. (2013). The demographics of military children and families. Future of Children 23(2), 13–39.

[2] Ibid.

[3] U.S. Department of Defense. (2010). Report on the impact of deployment of members of the Armed Forces on their dependent children. Washington, DC: DoD. Retrieved from http://download.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Reports/Report-to-Congress-on-Impact-of-Deployment-on-Military-Children.pdf

[4] Weber, E. G., & Weber, D. K. (2005). Geographic relocation frequency, resilience, and military adolescent behavior. Military Medicine, 170(7), 638–642; Kelley, M. L., Finkel, L. B., & Ashby, J. (2009). Geographic mobility, family, and maternal variables associated with psychosocial adjustment of military children. Military Medicine, 168, 1019–1024; Marchant, K. H., & Medway, F. J. (2007). Adjustment and achievement associated with mobility in military families. Psychology in the Schools, 24, 289–294; all cited in Clever & Segal, op. cit.