Caring for a Deployed Service Member's Child
Caring for a child of a deployed service member is an opportunity to serve the country in a unique way. Like most things, a little preparation and the right information will go a long way towards ensuring a smooth transition. Before the service member deploys, make sure you understand the wishes of the service member and the children and some of the potential challenges during this period. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Be sure to have a copy of the service member’s family care plan.
- Use resources available through the Family Readiness System.
- Reach out when you need help — it's available.
Designated caregivers need to know how to access military resources, especially if they're not familiar with military life. Resources and support are available through the Family Readiness System — a network of programs, support services, people and agencies. To find the nearest Military and Family Support Center, visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS or call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.
Here are a few support services that may help:
- Commissary and exchanges — Bring your agent letter of authorization and a family member's ID card to shop for children in your care.
- Children and youth programs — Programs for children, teens and after-school care are available.
- Military treatment facilities — Military treatment facilities are available for a sick or injured child. Find the closest military treatment facility through MilitaryINSTALLATIONS or contact TRICARE for an approved medical provider. You will need your power of attorney to receive services.
- Legal assistance — If you need legal assistance, contact the Armed Forces Legal Assistance Locator to find out where to go.
- Leisure and recreational activities— Check out the Morale, Welfare and Recreation program and what it has to offer for relaxation and adventure. Go to MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to locate your local Morale, Welfare and Recreation and learn about specific programs.
Kids and coping
These are resources for children who need support and assistance:
- DeploymentKids.com offers games and activities for children.
- The National Military Family Association has a page for children with information and links to deployment-related publications.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics has a deployment resources page with information for parents and caregivers of military children and adolescents.
Let us help you
Caregiving is an important job. Visit Military OneSource or call 800-342-9647, 24/7, to speak to:
- Receive referrals to support services and counseling
- Get confidential non-medical counseling for issues related to your care-provider role.
- Locate free articles, booklets, CDs and videos on Military OneSource that will support you in your role.
You can do it and we’re here to help.