Children and Youth Quickstart Guide

Welcome to the Children and Youth Quickstart Guide!

This is a starting point for information and resources for veterans and service members with children.

This guide is intended for:

  • Service members and veterans of any branch or component who have children
  • Family members
  • A person who is helping one of the above

The following are resources specifically focused on assisting military and veteran families with children:

1. Learn about educational options for your children: Did you know that parents in Arizona have a range of options for where and how their children are educated? Arizona public schools are required to offer open enrollment to any student, based on available classroom space. What this means is that parents are not necessarily restricted to the school district in which they reside. Other options include charter schools, private schools, online education and homeschooling.

The state maintains a website that outlines the different options and laws that govern primary and secondary education in Arizona.

AZ_School_Choice

 

Link: Arizona School Choice

Arizona is part of the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, a national effort to address the challenges military children face due to frequent relocation. A representative of the Arizona Coalition for Military Families sits on the Governor-appointed Arizona Council for the Education of Military Children. The Council has created a website to provide military families with information on the Compact and how it might apply to their situation.

Link: AZMilitaryEd.AZ.gov

2. Find options for childcare: Whether you are expecting your first child or you need after school care, deciding on a childcare provider is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent.

Arizona Childcare Resource & Referral offers assistance to all families in Arizona seeking childcare. Funded by the Arizona Department of Economic Security, resources are available at no charge.

LinkArizona Childcare Resource and Referral | 1-800-308-9000

First Things First is a statewide organization focused on Arizona families with children ages birth to five. One of their key programs is QualityFirst, which focuses on the quality of early childhood providers. View the QualityFirst checklist for childcare and preschool to help you choose a provider.

Link: QualityFirst checklist

Looking for information on child care assistance and subsidies?

Active duty military members and activated Guard and Reservists may have child care options available. Learn more about Military Child Care Programs on Military OneSource and the site of the National Association of Children Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) .

Links:

Military OneSource – Military Child Care Programs

NACCRRA – Programs for Military Families by Branch

First Things First has information on options for paying for childcare for non-active duty and veteran families.

Link: Resources if you need help paying for childcare

3. Get help and support for parenting – Whether newborns to teenagers, parenting can be very stressful. Fortunately there is a lot of help available to parents. The sites below are designed to help parents overcome some of the stressors associated with parenthood and/or military service-related experiences.

Birth to Five Helpline – This is a free service for families with young children and providers working with families with young children. Staffed by experts in early childhood development from Southwest Human Development (a partner organization on the Military/Veteran Resource Network), they can help answer questions and problem solve around issues like sleeping, feeding, potty training and behavior. The Helpline also has the Fussy Baby program focused on helping parents navigate the first year of their baby’s life.

Calls are answered Monday through Friday. You can also leave a message or submit a contact form on the site after hours and on weekends.

LinkBirth to Five Helpline | 1-877-705-KIDS (5437)

 

littlekidsbigquestionspodcasticonLittle Kids, Big Questions – This is a series of 12 podcasts that addresses issues facing parents of babies and toddlers, such as helping a baby learn to sleep through the night, dealing with a picky eater and learning to set limits on children’s behavior. The series is produced by Zero to Three, a national organization focused on early childhood development.

Link: Little Kids, Big Questions podcast series

Other Zero to Three resources for military/veteran families

Talk, Listen, Connect – A program of Sesame Workshops, Talk, Listen, Connect offers military and veteran families tools and resources to help your children through difficult periods of transition and separation that can come with military service. This site also offers programs on deployment and homecoming and when military families grieve.

Link: Talk, Listen, Connect

MilitaryKidsConnect – This online community is geared toward children ages 6-17. It uses innovative ways to help military youth cope with their unique military life. This website has videos, games and interactive activities for teens and tweens.

Link: MilitaryKidsConnect

Military OneSource – The Children, Youth & Teens section of Military OneSource includes a range of articles grouped by age.

Link: Children, Youth & Teens

4. Learn about options for families with children with special health care needs – There are a range of supportive resources available to military and veteran families.

For those families with a parent still serving in the military, there is the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) that addresses the educational and medical needs of any member of the family with a special need. The Military OneSource page has all the information about the program and enrollment.

LinkMilitary OneSource EFMP page

There are also state and local resources to help families with special needs kids.

Links:

Southwest Human Development services for children with disabilities

Arizona Department of Health Services – Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs

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These are Military/Veteran Resource Network partner organizations that focus on children & youth (click the name to learn more about the organization):

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson

Southwest Human Development