Family Supports | Community Impact
Supporting Vulnerable Military Children and Families in Texas
With 15 active military installations, Texas has the second highest active duty military population in the United States. Approximately 10 percent of all active duty forces in the U.S. reside in Texas, and nearly 1.6 million veterans live in Texas. Over the past 15 years, the new and expanded deployment of troops has led to an increased rate of child abuse and neglect in this community. This led the Texas Legislature to task the Texas Department of Family and 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 is assisting the department’s Prevention and Early Intervention division to determine the effectiveness of efforts that serve these vulnerable military families. Each site is working with military representatives from their local military installation(s) and multiple community partners to develop a community-based support system for military and veteran families. Through surveys, interviews, and focus groups, CFRP is studying how programs can be adapted to fit the unique needs of military families and how they work to increase protective factors within families.
Developing Indicators of Progress for Systems-Level Change
The complex needs of at-risk families often extend beyond what direct service programs can provide in isolation, and many community-level issues cannot be addressed with a service-level-only approach. A comprehensive approach that includes both direct service and community-level strategies should lead to a higher return on investment, but the return may not be actualized for many years. In the interim, a community’s progress can be assessed to show that progress is being made and to provide communities with benchmarks for measuring performance. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is committed to supporting communities in their efforts to make community-level change for their children and families. CFRP is working with the department’s Prevention and Early Intervention Division to determine how to measure community-level change and how to identify the markers of progress that indicate a community is successfully moving toward community-level change. CFRP is conducting focus groups with community coalitions, surveying stakeholders, and scanning the field for best practice guidance.
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Related Publications and Posts: Military and Veterans