Unique Needs of Guard and Reserve Families
The National Guard and Reserves for the different military branches make up about half of the military capability of the United States. More than 500,000 children have one or both parents serving in the Guard or Reserves, and about 72 percentof these service members are called up each year. The amount of time that these individuals are given to deploy varies by assignment. Children with a family member in the Guard or Reserves may find themselves instantly becoming a “military family,” which is not a role that they are familiar with. As such, these children may not be emotionally prepared for rapid deployments, especially when they may need to relocate to stay with a caregiver. In addition to the issues associated with a move or the sudden absence of a loved one, the economic circumstances of the family may also change during this time and put additional strain on students.
Another challenge is that districts may not be aware of Guard and Reserve families within their schools. Many times these families do not live near installations and schools that are aware of the challenges of children from military families. Therefore, children of Guard and Reserve personnel may not have the support systems in place to cope with the deployment of a parent that other children from military families might have on the installation and within their schools. School Liaisons play a critical role for National Guard and Reserve families in helping to bridge communication gaps by building key relationships with school leaders and educators. Module 10: Building and Maintaining Relationships provides more detail about ways School Liaisons can create mutually beneficial relationships with local school leaders and community stakeholders.