This collection brings together valuable insights from nonprofit organizations, foundations, and government agencies that work directly with veterans in communities across the country. The works collected here provide a deeper understanding of the problems many veterans and their families face and also potential solutions to address these very real challenges. The collection is broken into five key areas where veterans are facing obstacles and where nonprofits and foundations have been focusing their efforts.

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"Soldiers" by Adam Baker licensed under CC NC 2.0

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Study on Children of Seriously Wounded Service Members

March 18, 2014

This study was conducted to better understand the needs of children of service members who have been seriously wounded in combat, as well as the programs and services that support these children and families.

Family & Community Reintegration; Health & Well-being

The Community Quarterback: Veterans and Their Families are Coming Home, Are We Ready?

March 1, 2014

Are we ready? Is our community ready? Is our country ready to honor the moral obligation to ensure that its veterans and their families receive the services promised to them when they enlisted and to completely address any injury, illness or other disparity created as a result of their service?There appears to be no end in sight to the ongoing stressors for military personnel and their families. The United States has been continuously at war for more than a decade with the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan the longest in our nation's history. Persistent instabilities in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia are likely to keep American forces engaged in combat operations for many years to come. The demanding operational tempo of two challenging combat theaters coupled with the nature of the nation's all-volunteer force, and the expanded involvement of military reservists has meant that many service members have been deployed multiple times since 2001, which in turn has brought family and community issues to the forefront and into the realm of veterans issues. It is apparent that psychological and personal stresses for service members and their families are more prevalent and widespread than previously understood. The transition from military to civilian life can be difficult and is not always negotiated successfully.We know that communities that successfully support their military-impacted populations are those that engage their entire citizenry in the unique challenges facing veterans transitioning home. Therefore, we need to create a coordinated community-based approach that brings together diverse sets of resources and identifies new opportunities across public and private sectors. It is unlikely that the needs of veterans and their families will be adequately addressed unless local, state and federal agencies join forces and work together with public and private nonprofit organizations that are providing services and care for them.

Family & Community Reintegration

Taking Care of the New Home Front: Leveraging Greater Federal Resources to Expand Community Capacity for NYS Veterans and Families

December 1, 2013

This report from the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) looks at the progress of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, a first-of-its-kind initiative that assists veteran families at imminent risk of homelessness in maintaining safe, permanent housing.SSVF is also designed to meet the needs of veteran families that have become homeless by rapidly re-engaging with permanent housing and other support structures to achieve quick housing outcomes and community integration. SSVF ensures that every veteran household in New York State would have access to high-quality, outcome-oriented homelessness prevention services.The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) and IVMF recognized this program as an opportunity to make a demonstrable impact in preventing veteran homelessness in New York State. With support from NYSHealth, the IVMF is working to grow the capacity for SSVF grantee applicants and will work with existing grantees to help increase their capacity to serve veterans. As result of NYSHealth's investment, New York State secured $26 million in federal resources through the SSVF program in 2013.

Family & Community Reintegration; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Reintegration Partnership Project: Summary of Key Findings and Recommendations

December 1, 2013

There are approximately 2.6 million men and women who have served in the U.S. military during the post-9/11 period and their transitions home after deployment often create a rollercoaster of mixed experiences. About 40 percent of the fighting and support services deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are members of the National Guard and Reserve Forces who often return to civilian communities that are ill-prepared to accommodate their reintegration needs. This brief describes the Reintegration Partnership Project, which explored the transition process for California National Guard members and their families after Reintegration Skills Training (RST), an evidence-based problem-solving practice aimed at easing the challenges associated with transition from combat to civilian life. It also reports findings of a follow-up assessment of the reintegration experience for California National Guard members.

Family & Community Reintegration; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Collective Impact for Washington State Veterans and Military Families

October 1, 2013

Military families in the United States are facing enormous challenges. Since 2001, more than 2.6 million troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and now face rates of suicide, depression, and unemployment that have sounded the alarm for action. Though there is wide community support for veterans and their families, the system is fragmented. There are a multitude of services available to the nation's veterans, but the disjointed nature of how they are provided by federal agencies, and a wide variety of state and community-based organizations makes it difficult for veterans and their families to navigate the systemand receive the services they need.The federally funded programs fluctuate based on presidential and congressional priorities and national emergencies. The landscape is dotted with nonprofit organizations, corporations, educational institutions, volunteer groups, public agencies and private foundations. Each provides an array of services or programs designed to meet specific needs of the United States' approximately 22 million veterans.A collaborative that builds on the strengths of the community can be the most effective solution to this fragmentation by combining resources, identifying promising programs and strategizing for collective impact. Innovation will not be made by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) alone. Nonprofits and community-based organizations have limited resources and focused scopes. Each operates in isolation. A model of public-private partnerships that brings together a diverse cross-sector of stakeholders has the potential to effect large-scale change.

Family & Community Reintegration; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Support for the 21st-Century Reserve Force: Insights to Facilitate Successful Reintegration for Citizen Warriors and Their Families, Summary

September 17, 2013

Many studies have examined the impact of deployment on military families, but few have assessed either the challenges that guard and reserve families face following deployment or how they manage the reintegration phase of the deployment cycle. This report aims to facilitate the successful reintegration of guard and reserve personnel as they return to civilian life after deployment. Using surveys and interviews with guard and reserve families, along with interviews with resource providers, this report examines how these families fare after deployment, the challenges they confront during that time frame, and the strategies and resources they use to navigate the reintegration phase. Factors associated with reintegration success include the adequacy of communication between families and the service member's unit or Service and between service members and their families, initial readiness for deployment, family finances, and whether the service member returns with a psychological issue or physical injury. Successful reintegration from the families' perspective was related to measures of military readiness, such as the service members' plans to continue guard or reserve service. In addition, there is a wide-ranging and complex "web of support" available to assist families with reintegration, including U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) programs, state and local government agencies, private nonprofit and for-profit resource providers, faith-based organizations, and informal resources (such as family, friends, and social networks). Opportunities for collaboration among providers abound. DoD does not have to "do it all," but the report suggests steps it can take to ensure that reintegration proceeds as smoothly as possible.

Family & Community Reintegration

Preventing Violence in the Homes of Military Families

June 1, 2013

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF), have demanded unprecedented service at every level of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines. For the first time in our military history, active duty, reservists, and guard servicemen and women have been required to complete multiple deployments. These repeated, lengthy deployments combined with limited family "dwell" time in between have deteriorated the stability of many military families. Of the almost two million Americans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many arrive home with serious mental health conditions and injuries that increase relationship stress, marital strain, and family violence.The first large-scale, nongovernmental assessment of the psychological needs of OIF/OEF service members, released by the Rand Corporation in 2008, revealed that 38 percent of these combat veterans suffered from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), major depression, traumatic brain injury, or some combination of the three -- yet less than half had sought treatment. Figures from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) suggest that these numbers have almost doubled; Forty-four percent of those who came to the VA for help have been diagnosed with one or more mental health issue. This psychological and emotional toll on our veterans has put them at greater risk of perpetrating family violence. Research has found that:Male veterans with PTS are two to three times more likely to engage in intimate partner violence, compared to those without PTS -- up to six times higher than the general civilian population.81% of veterans suffering from depression and PTS have engaged in at least one violent act against their partner in the past year.Over half of veterans with PTS performed one severe act of violence in the past year -- more than 14 times higher than the general civilian population.However, the confluence of domestic violence, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), PTS, and other mental health injuries among war veterans is by no means fully understood at this point, and requires greater analysis and investigation.

Family & Community Reintegration; Health & Well-being

Enhancing the Well-Being of America's Veterans and Their Families: A Call to Action for a National Veterans Policy

June 1, 2013

This meeting was convened by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Social Work Policy Institute (SWPI) in collaboration with supporting partner, the University of Southern California School of Social Work (USC) and its Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families. This symposium was convened on June 12-13, 2013 as a catalyst for improving both policies and practices, and to explore the feasibility of promoting a national veterans policy. The more than 50 participants represented national organizations, government agencies, community service providers, foundations and universities. The participants had expertise in health, behavioral health and human service delivery systems and a large number of the participants were veterans, family members of veterans, or both.The symposium participants' diverse perspectives and experiences in agencies, organizations and universities helped to stimulate thinking about the policies that support our nation's veterans, and to look at how we can leverage what we already have, identify what changes are needed, and suggest how we can best balance federal, state and community roles, responsibilities and resources to enhance the well-being of our nation's veterans and their families.

Family & Community Reintegration; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation; Health & Well-being

2013 Military Family Lifestyle Survey: Comprehensive Report

May 1, 2013

Despite the drawdown of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the United States will continue to rely on an all-volunteermilitary for global stability and security for the foreseeable future. The Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey takes a proactive look at the current needs and priorities of military families and service members and what can be done to support them. The goal of the survey is to provide concrete data and information about prominent aspects of the military lifestyle so that decisionmakers can make informed choices on their behalf. After all, the first step in recognizing the unique and substantial contributions military families make to this nation's security and collective strength, is to understand their perspective and experiences while serving.Each year, Blue Star Families collects data and disseminates the results so that stakeholders can address military families with a timely and relevant perspective. In doing so, decision-makers may be able to target efforts for better reception, applicability, and successful outreach to military families in communities across the nation and around the world. This report details the results and analysis of the fourth annual Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey.The survey, which was conducted online in November 2012 with more than 5,100 military family respondents, was designed to reveal key trends in today's military families by examining, among other things, feelings of stress, financialreadiness, spouse employment, effects of deployment, levels of communication, behavioral and mental health, wellbeing, and civic engagement. !e results provide clear insight into the unique lifestyles of modern-day military families after more than a decade of continuous war.

Family & Community Reintegration; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

America Joins Forces with Military Families: White Oak II Summary Report

July 11, 2012

The second White Oak Summit (White Oak II) was held February 24-26, 2012. Conveners included Blue Star Families, The Chamber of Commerce, Points of Light Institute, Armed Forces Services Corporation, with advisors from the White House and Department of Defense. The objective of this second Summit was to identify strategies and recommendations (long and short term) to address the remaining gaps in support for military families and highlight where the private sector can have the greatest impact. This Summit provided opportunities to review current research, policy initiatives, and responses to the challenges facing military families. Since White Oak I, a number of well-coordinated efforts and initiatives have been launched to support military families. Although many of these initiatives provide excellent resources, there are still areas where support needs to be initiated or re-directedAs Part of White Oak II, participants acknowledged the unique role of military service and the joint obligation of both government agency and the larger society's obligation to assist with the many challenges that arise from that service. Cooperation across the public and private sectors, however, has been difficult and, often, services and advocacy for military members, their families, and transitioning veterans lies in disparate places -- from various federal and state government agencies to the military services themselves, to an array of hundreds (if not thousands) of non-profit and private sector organizations. Both government and nongovernmental representatives cited miscommunication, confusing messaging, and on-going barriers to accessing military community populations as the main hurdles to collaboration across sectors. White Oak II aimed to identify concrete actions to address these problems. The overall recommendations and next steps include developing a comprehensive list of services available to military families in education, employment and wellness, and forming an umbrella group or association for NGOs as a vetting body (a key problem inhibiting public-private collaboration) that would track lessons learned and efficient practices, coordinate messaging, and incubate new organizations.

Family & Community Reintegration; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families

May 23, 2012

Provides an overview of kinship care; its positive impact on children, state agencies, and society; and policy recommendations to better support kinship care families, including boosting Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and foster care benefits.

Family & Community Reintegration; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Well After Service: Veteran Reintegration and American Communities

April 1, 2012

Most veterans successfully transition out of uniform and into civilian life. However, some recent veterans face service-related challenges, and there is no government agency, program or mechanism that properly and holistically addresses their wellness. Instead, communities across America, many of which are unfamiliar with the military and service-related needs, are left to support those recent veterans that need assistance reintegrating into civilian life.This report begins with a new definition of veteran wellness, a concept that differs from both military wellness and civilian wellness. The authors also analyze the efforts of current community-based models for delivering services to veterans. Building upon this new understanding of wellness and the best practices of community-based models, the authors outline a new framework for stakeholders, including government agencies, policymakers, community leaders and business, offering concrete recommendations for how the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs and community-based and private organizations can work together successfully to reintegrate veterans into civilian society.

Family & Community Reintegration