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This report, by Blue Star Families and the Caster Center and sponsored by USAA, examines the unique strengths and challenges of military families, best practices for supporting military families, why your company should support these families, and the steps to begin or strengthen your company's plan to support military families.
More than 1 million post-9/11 veteran families live in the United States, accounting for more than 1 million veterans, 1 million spouses, and 2.1 million children. Another 1.9 million veterans are expected to exit the military over the next decade. To better facilitate the transition of veterans and their families to civilian life, we must understand the strengths they possess and the unique challenges they face. With this report, we aim to inform more effective postservice policies by supplementing existing research on the state of veteran families.
This report highlights the first year program evaluation of zero8hundred, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to proactively link transitioning military families to a broad range of resources, helping them successfully transition to civilian life in San Diego County.
This paper marks the launch of a new IVMF series focused on the critical topics of program evaluation, performance measurement, and evidence-based practice (EBP). The purpose of the series is to inform the broader community of veteran and military family serving organizations by highlighting examples of veteran and military serving organizations employing various methods of EBP, program evaluation, and assessment. By highlighting leading practices across the U.S., this series aims to promote learning and greater impact in service delivery across our nation's evolving and maturing community of veteran and military organizations.This case illustration highlights the evaluation efforts of the rising veteran and military serving organization Team, Red, White & Blue (Team RWB). Team RWB is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2010 with the mission of enriching the lives of America's veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activity. Despite its relative youth, in 2014, the George W. Bush Institute's (GWBI) Military Service Initiative and the IVMF both identified Team RWB as a leading organization in building a robust measurement and evaluation program. The paper highlights how Team RWB integrates theory and research to drive its programming as an evidence-based wellness intervention and, in turn, produce data to inform its own organizational practice.Key HighlightsTeam RWB is an organization that values, at all levels, trust and transparency with its partners, funders, and community. This culture -- embodied by the 'Eagle Ethos' of positivity, passion, people, community, camaraderie, and commitment -- exists throughout the organization from the senior executive down to the community level.Research and evaluation of RWB's programs is and will remain vital to communicating its impact and improving how it targets resources to improve and grow its programs. The Team RWB "Eagle Research Center" is building an evidence base by quantitatively measuring its outcomes and using data to improve its program delivery.More than 1,800 veterans surveyed in 2014 and 2,500 surveyed in 2015 self-reported increases in creating authentic relationships with others, increasing their sense of purpose, and improving their health, by participating in Team RWB. Veterans also noted that participating in Team RWB had indirect benefits in their family relationships and work. Improvements on these dimensions contribute to an enriched life, with more program engagement leading to more enrichment.Team RWB achieves these results through local, consistent, and inclusive programs. The chapter and Community programs provide opportunities for physical, social, and service activities. The Leadership Development Program is comprised of national athletic and leadership camps, and a newly launched tiered leader development program.
Just across the river from our nation's capital, NOVA is home to countless icons representing the history of warfare in the United States and the sacrifices that have been made for our freedoms. From Arlington National Cemetery, to the Marine Corps War Memorial, to the United States Air Force Memorial, to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, to the Pentagon itself, these landmarks draw millions of visitors each year and provide places for Americans to publicly mourn, celebrate, and remember our service men and women. Less public, however, are the thousands of veterans and their families living in NOVA and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area who are restarting their civilian lives after serving multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), NOVA is home more 35,000 that have served since 2001. Indeed, Virginia has the highest Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) veteran ratio of all 50 states.Dozens of local organizations have risen to the challenge of supporting NOVA's post-9/11 veterans. These organizations deliver a range of interventions from financial counseling, to job training, to mental health services. It is clear that a wide array of support is available. What is less clear is exactly what those needs are and how local organizations are working collectively to address them. In an effort to better understand this landscape, the Community Foundation -- in partnership with the United Way of the National Capital Area and with the support of Deloitte -- developed this report to gain a more in-depth understanding of NOVA's veteran support landscape. This report is intended to provide the Community Foundation and other local community-based organizations with the insights needed to strategically target and coordinate grant dollars toward the greatest needs
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.