Study: Military Family Support Programs Flawed

Many of DOD’s support programs for military families have never been evaluated for efficiency or effectiveness, according to a new article from The Future of Children, a collaboration of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution.

“There are a tremendous number of programs out there,” Brig. Gen. Russell Sanborn, the Marine Corps’ director of marine and family programs, said at an event focused on the report. “Does anybody truly have a handle on whether they’re synchronized? Are they integrated? Are they effective? Have they been vetted by independent experts?

“I am all for more programs as long as you can show the effectiveness and the efficiency of it.”

Many of the programs the military built over the past 12 years during repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan may be in peril over the next several years of budget cuts, Sanborn said, according to Federal News Radio.

The article’s authors conclude that there is not enough evidence about which programs work and the unique needs of military children in particular.

“Much of the research examines their stressful experiences – for example, the impact of deployment, movement, maltreatment or abuse,” said co-author Stephen Cozza, a professor of psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. “The existing research offers only a partial picture of the experience of military children. A truly representative account would be a balanced assessment, one that measures the effects of risk, but also incorporates a focus on strengths, of which they have many, and links the lives of military children with their service member and civilian parents across their respective life courses.”

Matt Borron
Matt Borron

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