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Our Thoughts

Reaching the Children of a Caregiver Parent

04.26.2013, by Susan Conolly
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     The Military Child Education Coalition ® (MCEC®) has a great opportunity to reach the children of our Veterans through a generous grant from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. These children, many who no longer have an active duty parent, will be the beneficiaries of training with a unique focus on their Caregiver parent. A study recently released by the Rand Corporation (Military Caregivers) estimates between 275,000 and one million men and women are caring for or have previously cared for their wounded warriors. In addition to being a caregiver and handling all the responsibilities associated with medical assistance, these individuals may also be working full time and many, many of them are also a parent. The impact on children cannot be under-estimated. We also know that children are taking on caregiver responsibilities themselves.   

     We’re excited that we have an opportunity to reach out to these parents and provide them with some practical tools and strategies to help their kids.  We are currently in the process of “fine-tuning” some of our Parent to Parent workshop presentations and materials to make them applicable to the more than ordinary circumstances of children who have a Caregiver parent. We have some new resources on the drawing board as we look at the real and sometimes long-term challenges that these children will encounter.

     Reaching these parents will not be without a unique set of challenges for MCEC. Parents are busy people and being a Caregiver and a parent adds another layer to already complicated lives. Additionally, we recognize that a parent, who is a full-time Caregiver, may not be able to attend a traditional parent workshop or training. Our response to this has to be creative and flexible. We have plans to offer information on line through videos and webinars; we will also work with other agencies and organizations to reach parents wherever they might be. 

     We are starting to see more information and research on the impact of being a Caregiver; we know that there is a large element of self-sacrifice; Caregivers often do not take care of themselves. We also know that the resources are sometimes difficult to access, and the need changes constantly. We are confident that by reaching out to the Caregiver parent we might ease some of the stress and help caregiver parents learn to efficiently and effectively support the growth and development of their children through extraordinary circumstances.

     We are honored to be working with The Elizabeth Dole Foundation on this critical effort for the children of our Service men and women who have sacrificed so much.

…for the sake of the child.