251206 Coming Together Around Military Families: Meeting the Needs of the Youngest Family Members Impacted by Military Service

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dorinda Williams, LCSW-C , Military Family Projects, ZERO TO THREE, Washington, DC
The deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have been affecting military families for nearly a decade. As of June 2009, almost 900,000 of combat deployed military personnel were parents. As of July, 2010, over 71,000 U.S. service members had been wounded during the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan and almost 7000 had been killed. In addition to physical injuries, service members have sustained less visible injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and/or traumatic brain injury. According to a 2009 DoD report, 42% of the children of active duty members are between the ages of 0 to 5. Babies and toddlers may be particularly vulnerable to the contextual family stressors associated with deployment, which can impact their parents' and caregivers' emotional health and responsiveness. Young children rely heavily on positive interactions with their caregivers to promote optimal social-emotional development. Parental stress or trauma can compromise these early interactions and potentially influence an infant or toddler's developmental trajectory. This presentation will provide an overview of the work of Military Family Projects (MFP) at ZERO TO THREE, including components of Coming Together Around Military Families® that provides trainings, consultation, and materials to interdisciplinary professionals across Service Branches and communities. Output data from the MFP projects, as well as new and emerging MFP initiatives that further advance the unique needs of military families and their very young children in the context of military-specific stress and trauma will be shared.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe early childhood brain development in the context of understanding the core needs of infants and toddlers 2. Explain how stress and trauma stemming from deployment related parental injury (physical and/or psychological) or death can affect very young children 3. Describe the DOD-endorsed Military Family Projects (MFP) initiative, Coming Together Around Military Families®, as a model of training and technical assistance supporting military families and professionals across disciplines and Service Branches 4. List two new and emerging MFP initiatives and activities 5. Summarize the key outcome data from the Military Family Project

Keywords: Mental Health, Infant Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am responsible for the implementation of many of the MFP projects
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.