|Deployment adds child stress at home|
|Written by Matthew Wendling, Daily Vidette Staff Reporter|
|Thursday, 20 August 2009 20:15|
As our military operations in the Middle East and across the globe continue, studies show that the stress of a deployed parent is having an impact on military families. According to these studies, children are the ones affected most.
While sophomore accounting major Casey Koontz did not face the challenges of raising a family while serving in the military, he did serve with individuals who had to deal with the stress of separation from their families.
"It’s pretty hard for a lot of people who are in the military with families because you deploy all the time and when you’re not deploying, you’re preparing to deploy," Koontz said. "It’s just a constant strain on your family."
"When you’re a deployed member, one of your biggest concerns is, ‘How is my family doing? Are they being taken care of?’ and it’s nice to know that they have someone to fall back on," Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Hart, professor of military science, said.
But even as these challenges grow by the day, the Army has taken steps to care for the families of soldiers deployed overseas. In fact, according to Hart, the Army has increased these initiatives recently.
"There’s an organization on military bases called Army Community Services," Hart explained. "It has childcare services, counseling services, financial planning services and soldiers and their families can use these services any time."
In addition, many units maintain family support groups organized and run by volunteer family members. These groups hold social events, weekly meetings or other events, which bring together those facing similar situations. Some even offer sponsored childcare.
"Normally, if a unit deploys, that family support group usually becomes extremely involved and they usually receive outside sponsorship from local organizations to help sponsor their activities with maybe reduced fees for childcare," Hart said. "It’s a peace of mind and that’s why we love to sponsor them."
At ISU, services are offered to help veterans receive education grants and benefits upon returning to school.
"We serve as a point of reference for veterans and their families most specifically on education benefits but we can refer them to various offices on campus or within the community if they need assistance in other areas," Judy Curtis, a registrar for veterans’ services, said.
"We’re not housed near an active military post so we don’t see that many active military families. It’s more veterans or spouses or dependants of veterans."
In preparation for the stress of deployment on one’s family, the Army Reserve Office Training Corps program at ISU is addressing such issues in their junior and senior level courses.
"In the upper-level classes, part of the curriculum is talking about resources available to soldiers on military bases for handling deployments or just handling family matters," Hart said.
"As leaders, we try to teach [the cadets] how they can foster a stronger family support group."