DPRR Celebrates Month of the Military Child With CYSS and EFMP

By Lytaria B. Walker, Directorate of Prevention, Resilience and ReadinessMay 2, 2024

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

“Military-connected children live pretty unique lives, as their parents do, as well. These children should be celebrated,” says Patricia Bradley Ewen, Child, Youth & School Services Education program specialist (school liaison) within DPRR.

Month of the Military Child provides an opportunity for the Army to do just that-- celebrate military-connected youths around the world and to encourage services and installations to amplify the efforts across all of the ecosystems to support these children. Ewen says that CYSS hopes to have a significant impact on the outreach, support and services, as well as celebrate their contributions to the Family and the Soldier. CYSS provides quality programs and resources that support dependent children of National Guard members. Ewen says, “Peace of mind for the child is a part of the CYSS mission.”

Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger established MOMC in 1986. He was a father of two and a World War II veteran. He recognized the sacrifices that his own children made and the challenges they faced due to his military service. As a result, he signed a proclamation establishing the celebration of the military child.

MOMC includes childcare and all the programs that support non-school-aged children, afterschool programs, youth sponsorship and our amazing national partnerships, such as 4-H and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America—all of those wonderful, enthusiastic supports for Army children and Families that contribute to the entire wraparound support of military-connected children.

Military-connected children have benefits and experiences that are not afforded to others. They have an opportunity to see things and to meet people from all walks of life. They have an opportunity to integrate into other cultures and try things that other children won’t. Ewen says, “If you were born and raised in Nebraska and you never left, you may never get a surfing lesson in Hawaii or see a European cathedral in Germany.” She says that level of exposure and understanding of world cultures is an advantage in this day and age, with this incredibly shrinking world where we are really learning about one another.

Marcine L. Best, M.Ed., Exceptional Family Member Program special education specialist within the DPRR, believes that military-connected children have a diverse approach and view of the world because of their vast exposure to multiple countries and ethnicities. She says that diversity, in turn, plays a part in who they are and who they will become. “Diversity is second nature for them, and it changes their outlook on life.” Best says that in her role at Headquarters, Army EFMP she creates tools and programs to aid parents of special-needs children. EFMP is a mandatoryenrollment program that assists active-duty military Families who have a member who has special medical or educational needs.

Another benefit is the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, which was signed in 2008. The compact ensures that military-connected children receive the same opportunities for educational success as other children and that they are not penalized or delayed in achieving their educational goals. The compact provides protection for military children when they move from school to school. It allows parents to hand-carry records, which expedites class placement. Ewen says that as a result of the compact, military students are being properly placed in classes and programs. She says more students have continuity of education services, including students with disabilities and gifted students. She notes that state education department accountability data for militaryconnected children shows that generally, these students consistently outperform their peers.

Ewen says, “Let’s purple-up for our militaryconnected children.” She explains “purple-up” as: “When you hug all of the colors of the military— blue for Navy, red for Marines, green for Army, blue and silver for Air Force—you get purple. And it’s for everybody, including the National Guard and Reserve.”

Ewen concludes: “While we celebrate MOMC, we’re also celebrating the fact that there’s a large repertoire of materials, resources and people to provide you peace of mind while you’re out defending the country. We’re taking care of your children.”

For more information on the CYSS program, click here. For more information on the EFMP program, click here.