Responding to the needs of children of veterans

Children and Family Futures (CFF) works with states, localities, and community providers who respond to the needs of the children of veterans. We work with community agencies that serve veterans, veteran agencies, Veterans Treatment Courts, Family Treatment Courts, substance use disorder treatment programs and other community providers to provide technical assistance and training on how to serve children and families of veterans. We also conduct evaluations of programs that serve veteran families.  

Children of Veterans: Why? 

Many veterans’ programs may not be serving children affected by their veteran parents’ trauma and substance use disorders, and we work to help agencies provide those services. Significant segments of veterans are affected by their deployment and service experience in ways that can contribute to barriers to child and family safety and well-being. Identifying those families and responding to their needs are tasks that require mobilization of community resources and supports beyond those available from veteran-serving agencies. 

Military Family and Veteran Family Defined  

Military families is a term that can encompass the families of veterans separated from service as well as those on active duty, in the National Guard, and in the Reserve. But the children of veterans are far less visible than those living in families whose parents are on active duty, because the children of veterans are not eligible for most of the services provided to military families on active duty. Children and Family Futures staff have been involved in program development, research, and planning activities that are focused on the children and families of veterans who are no longer on active duty and who have been affected by their parents’ trauma resulting from their service. This work is led by CFF’s President, Sid Gardner, and Director of Veterans’ and Special Projects, Larisa Owen. Mr. Gardner is a Vietnam veteran, and Dr. Owen is the spouse of a Gulf War Marine Corps veteran and is herself a member of the California State Guard. Dr. Owen was appointed by Secretary Denis McDonough of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to the VA’s Federal Advisory Committee for Veterans, Family, Caregivers, and Survivors.  

of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans are parents
of deployed parents have a history of trauma and substance use disorders
of active-component services members reported binge drinking within the preceding month

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