Archive for the ‘military’ Category

5 Things You Should Know about Military-Connected Youth

July 31, 20175-things-list, military

The experiences of military-connected youth are distinct in many ways from children in civilian families. Many challenges are faced by military-connected youth and yet there is also access to opportunities unavailable to other children. Learn more about ways in which the experiences of youth with parents in the military are unique in 5 Things to Know about Military-Connected Youth.

Click for all CFRP 5 Things To Know.

How Does Texas Support Youth in Military Families?

July 24, 2017military

Loving mom returning home to her child

The experiences of military-connected youth are distinct in many ways from children in civilian families, as described in 5 Things to Know about Military-Connected Youth. Specific challenges may come in the form of frequent moves and dealing with separation from a parent during training or deployment. Though military-connected youth are resilient, states and communities often provide mentoring and other family-support services to address the needs of these youth and their families.

The state of Texas has the third largest active duty military population in the United States (nearly 117,000 personnel), representing over 10 percent of active duty forces in the U.S.[1] Additionally, nearly 1.7 million veterans, and 53,000 Selected Reserve members live in Texas.[2,3] To serve the state’s military children and families, the Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Division of the Texas Department of Family Protective Services launched the Military Families and Veterans Prevention Program (MVP)[4] to provide a range of support services to the three largest military communities in Texas, home to more than three-quarters of Texas’ active duty members.[5]

The Military Families and Veterans Prevention Program (MVP)

The MVP program serves families with children up to 17 years of age at Fort Hood in Bell County, Joint Base San Antonio in Bexar County, and Fort Bliss in El Paso County and specifically aims to prevent child abuse and neglect. Contractors in these communities provide a range of services to military families, including parenting programs, case management, and mentoring, among others.

In their assessment of community needs, organizations contracting with PEI to deliver MVP services identified a need for mentoring and other services targeted toward military-connected youth. Mentors can be a way for youth to connect to someone else in their community and be a source of support. Additionally, mentoring programs can also be of service to military or military-connected parents. Mentors can provide activities for children, provide respite care, and assist youth with school projects.

In El Paso and Bexar Counties, Big Brothers Big Sisters matches military-connected youth to mentors in the community. In Bell County, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas serve middle and high school youth with a variety of services such as counseling, educational, and recreational programs and activities. In addition to the benefits of mentoring, mentors can also help identify additional needs of military-connected youth and their families. Mentoring programs often cannot address all of the needs of military-connected youth; however, because youth are connected to MVP programs, mentors and program staff can connect them to partner agencies within the community to ensure their needs are met.

The MVP program indirectly supports military-connected youth by providing services to their parents and by promoting positive parental involvement in children’s lives.

milkidsThe program aims to educate, facilitate, and support parents’ abilities to provide continued emotional, physical, and financial support to their families. Positive parenting practices (e.g., parental support, monitoring, avoiding harsh punishment) are associated with positive child outcomes, such as better adjustment, higher self-esteem, higher grades, fewer behavior problems, and lower reports of deviance among school-age children.[6] Even if programs target parents of young children, parents may be able to use the skills they develop for years into the future or to help parent older children.

Military-connected youth grow up with both challenges and opportunities distinct from the experiences of children in civilian families. These youth face difficulties associated with frequent moves and separation from a parent due to deployment or training. However, military-connected youth are also resilient and benefit from the opportunities military life provides to them. Services provided by MVP in Texas aim to support and address the needs of these youth and their families by providing mentoring and other family-support services.

Learn more:

[1] U.S. Department of Defense (n.d.). 2015 Demographics: Profile of the military community. Washington, DC. Retrieved from

[2] U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (2015). State summary: Texas. Washington, DC. Retrieved from

[3] U.S. Department of Defense (n.d.). 2015 Demographics: Profile of the military community. Washington, DC. Retrieved from

[4] Texas Health and Human Services, Department of Family and Protective Services. (n.d.). Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) programs. Retrieved from

[5] 28 U.S. Department of Defense (n.d.). 2015 Demographics: Profile of the military community. Washington, DC. Retrieved from Based on calculations from figures on p. 187.

[6] Amato, P. R., & Fowler, F. (2002). Parenting practices, child adjustment, and family diversity. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(3). Retrieved from

Supporting Today’s Vulnerable Military and Veteran Families

July 3, 2017military



July 4, 2017 – Although the overall rate of child maltreatment is lower among military families compared to civilian families, rates of child maltreatment have risen faster among military families, particularly in the last decade.

Recognizing the need to support the most vulnerable military and veteran families in the state, Texas through the Department of Family and Protective Services – Prevention and Early Intervention Division (PEI) launched its pilot Military Families and Veterans Prevention Program (MVP) in 2016. The Child and Family Research Partnership is evaluating the effectiveness of the MVP program and determining how communities can best meet the unique needs of military and veteran families.

CFRP met with program providers during the study and garnered insights on the challenges of providing services to this special population:

  • Providers were surprised by the breadth and depth of need for prevention services that could reduce the risk of child maltreatment in military and veteran families. Needs varied from housing to transportation to basic needs and more.
  • Military families tend to be more private and independent than civilian families. Many families do not seek help until they are in crisis. Reasons include perceived stigma attached to receiving services and misconceptions about the military held by the non-military community.
  • Frequent relocations among military families make it difficult for families to connect to resources, due to both unique schedules and increased isolation.
  • Critical to program success is building trust using military-affiliated staff (either staff who have a personal history being in the military or having family who was/is in the military), as well as having persistent and very targeted recruitment efforts.

For more on what CFRP learned from the program providers, see policy brief, Improving Family Services for Military and Veteran Families.

New Award: Supporting Vulnerable Military Children and Families in Texas

February 12, 2016cfrp, child welfare, military

FAMILY SUPPORTS | Military Families

  • Grant: Supporting Vulnerable Military Children and Families in Texas
  • Sponsor: DFPS Prevention and Early Intervention

Active duty military and veterans face unique challenges and stressors, which determine what supports they need, especially in regards to child abuse and neglect. The state of Texas has the second highest active duty military population and the second highest number of veterans of any state in the country.

Under House Bill 19, the Texas 84th Legislature tasked the Texas Department of Family Protective Services to develop and implement a prevention program to support Texas military and veteran families in an effort to prevent child abuse and neglect. CFRP will be assisting the department’s Prevention and Early Intervention division to determine the effectiveness of the efforts to serve these vulnerable military families. CFRP will study how the program communities are successfully supporting military families and the challenges they face.


New Report about Child Support Issues of Military Families

November 11, 2013child_support, military

heroes_smAlthough unmarried soldier and veteran parents are more likely than their civilian counterparts to have a formal child support and visitation order, they often face unique challenges caused by their military service that make it difficult for them to meet their parenting and child support obligations. Frequent changes in station, lengthy deployments, concomitant changes in pay, combat-related stress, and transitions to veteran status are fundamental elements of military service, but they can pose challenges for noncustodial parents to pay a fair amount of child support and to co-parent their children; and for custodial parents to receive adequate child support and share their children as agreed upon.

The challenges associated with military service are consequential to all parties involved, including the child support system, the military, and the families. In the end, it is the children and families for which these issues matter most. Children benefit from the financial and emotional commitment of both parents, and soldiers and veterans deserve special attention to help resolve the issues regarding their child support and parenting obligations that are often made more difficult due to their service to this country.

A new CFRP report, Child Support & the Military: Efforts to Help Our Heroes, provides an overview of the challenges military service may pose with regard to child support and parenting obligations, as well as a review of Texas and other states’ and federal efforts to address these important challenges. The report concludes with a summary of recommendations that the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), state legislatures, judiciary, state child support offices, and the military should consider to ensure that soldiers and veterans are well-served, military readiness is maintained, the burden on state child support systems is reduced, and children have the support they need.

Information in the report is drawn from a rigorous evaluation of the HEROES Project conducted by the Child and Family Research Partnership at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin under the direction of Cynthia Osborne, Ph.D.



May 16, 2013child_support, military

The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) looks at multiple subgroups who may have unique challenges in regards to child support and focuses on one of these subgroups in their “Veterans in the Child Support Caseload” fact sheet. About 6% of the 10.7 million child support cases in the U.S. involve a veteran, and they also have higher rates of arrears than their civilian counterparts.

CFRP is particularly interested in the military population because we are currently evaluating a pilot program of the Family Initiatives Division of the Texas Office of the Attorney General called Help Establishing Responsive Orders and Ensuring Support  (HEROES) for Children in Military Families.  This one-of-a-kind program provides responsive, specialized services to resolve the child support issues of active duty and veteran families.  HEROES is designed to provide enhanced, family-centered child support services with the objectives of increasing compliance with current child support obligations; ensuring accurate establishment of support orders, expediting review and adjustments of orders; preventing the accumulation of arrears; and supporting increased parenting cooperation.  The pilot program has now served more than 3,500 military and veteran families stationed or residing in Texas and is garnering the attention of the OCSE and other states.  CFRP’s final findings are due later this year.