New Report Finds Military Family Demographics Need More Study; DOD Should Improve Family Care Coordination

New Report Finds Military Family Demographics Need More Study; DOD Should Improve Family Care Coordination

A new report on military family readiness published Friday says that while DOD puts significant resources into caring for military families, it has shortcomings in its care coordination and dealing with the population’s changing demographics, Military.com reported.

The report, Strengthening the Military Family Readiness System for a Changing American Society, says that overall military families are doing well but subgroups “could benefit from greater support,” according to Military.com.

The report was produced by The National Academies on the Well-Being of Military Families with the backing of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which was contracted by DOD to conduct the review.

“Military families encompass a broad spectrum of American society and have widely diverse needs that have materially changed in recent years as a result of broad changes in society at large,” said Committee Chairman Kenneth Kizer in a news release.

The report emphasized that military families have many advantages including steady household income, good benefits and exposure to other cultures, but they also face separations, combat exposure, injuries, frequent moves and other stressful events.

Stress can greatly impact some families, the authors noted, and recommended more studies focusing on military family stress, especially on young children. The report also found that DOD offers many good family programs but that it should remove “silos” that interfere with the delivery of services.

“The system lacks a comprehensive, coordinated framework to support individual and population well-being,” the authors note.

The committee also recommended DOD provide uniform support across the services, improve its data collection to ensure program relevance, and coordinate care across military and nonmilitary communities.

The committee was made up of former service members, medical professionals, family advocates and academic representatives.

“Understanding and addressing military family needs today requires greater attention to family diversity and stability,” the authors noted. “Any effort to understand the needs of U.S. personnel and their families and what might be needed to best support them must first appreciate the great size of this population and the diversity of its demographics and military service characteristics,” the committee added.

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