April is the “Month of the Military Child,” a time to honor and recognize the children of deployed military personnel.
There are about 2 million military children between the ages of newborn and 18 years old. These children often experience unique challenges of military life, including the deployment of parents, moving frequently, and changing schools while having to make new friends.
Parental separation combined with the reintegration of parents that come back from deployment with PTSD and physical disabilities can be really stressful to children. Some may have to face a parent’s death. Moving homes causes disrupted relationships with friends, and having to adjust to new communities and resources can make it hard for children to adapt.
The Red Cross supports America’s military members, veterans and their families. Red Cross service programs can assist in making some of these experiences less strenuous. These services range from responding to emergency needs for food, clothing, and shelter, referrals to counseling services (e.g., financial, legal, mental health), respite care for caregivers, and other resources that meet the unique needs of local military members, veterans and their families.
There is also an Emergency Communication service which relays urgent messages to service workers stationed anywhere in the world. This service delivers notifications of emergency situations such as the death or serious illness of a family member, and the good news of the birth or a child. Help is available at (877) 272-7337, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
When calling the Red Cross, be prepared to provide as much of the following information about the service member as is known:
- Full legal name
- Branch of service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard)
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Military unit address
- Information about the deployed unit and home base unit (for deployed service members only)