Released in July 2019, this new Consensus Study Report from the Board on Children, Youth, and Families finds that the U.S. Department of Defense and military branches have many programs and policies to support the well-being of military families, but they need to employ a more coordinated and comprehensive approach to matching the needs of individual families to available programs. While most military-connected children and families are doing well, some families are falling through the cracks and would benefit from greater support. The report also concludes that due to the widespread changes in American societal norms and family structures that have occurred in recent years, addressing military famlies’ needs today requires greater attention to the diversity of family structures that exist today.
The DOD’s Military Family Readiness System (MFRS) includes a plethora of policies, programs, services, resources, and practices to support and promote the readiness and resilience of families. However, the MFRS is siloed; suffers from a diffusion of labor and responsibility; and, is at times, fragmented in its delivery of services. The system lacks a comprehensive, coordinated framework to support individual and population well-being, resilience, and readiness among military families. Addressing this weakness could improve the quality of services provided, encourage innovation, and support effective response capabilities.