North Carolina AHEC Program
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Supporting Military Families: Children Serve Too!

On August 3, 2012, Wake AHEC hosted a program called “Supporting Military Families: Children Serve, Too!” with 120 health care professionals including counselors, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, psychologists, social workers and ministers. The program was part of the A-TrACC Project for the Behavioral/Mental Health of Veterans/Service Members and Families through the Health Resources and Services Administration.

“Since October 2001, the world in which American military children grow up has been changed dramatically by unprecedented levels of deployment. To date, a total of over 2.1 million American men and women in uniform have deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Of those Service members, approximately 100,000 (44%) are parents. Of those deployed Service member parents, 48% have served at least two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not since the Vietnam War have so many US military families been affected by deployment-related family separation, combat injury, and death.” (Department of Defense, Report on the Impact of Deployment of Members of the Armed Forces on Their Dependent Children, October, 2010).

Supporting Military Families: Children Serve Too!

The program addressed challenges faced by military families and the specific impact on their children. Emphasis was placed on National Guard and Reserve service members/families that may not have access to resources afforded to active duty members.

Supported by several components of the North Carolina National Guard and Fort Bragg, the program featured a live honor guard posting the colors followed by the National Anthem via YouTube from the Cactus Cuties. Topics included Military Culture, VA Resources, TRICARE, Behavioral/Mental Health Issues of the Military Child, Promoting Resiliency during Deployment, and a panel of military spouses who have experienced numerous deployments.

Participants had the opportunity to network with others and learn about volunteering to become part of the registry for providing treatment and support for families. Emphasis was directed toward using universal precautions in asking every client/patient if he/she is military or has a family member in the military. The registry form developed to support North Carolina G.S. 115C-47 SECTION 9.(a) et.seq. was distributed as a means of identifying students of military families within the Wake County Public School System.