Group Helps Military Children Cope with Deployments

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2008 - An organization in California is working to help military infants and toddlers cope with the stresses of a parent's deployment unique to their age group.

The mission of "Zero to Three" is to promote the health and development of infants and toddlers, said Lynette Fraga, the organization's director of military projects.

"'Coming Together Around Military Families' is an initiative to strengthen the resilience of young children and their families who are experiencing trauma, grief and loss that can result when a servicemember parent is deployed to Iraq ... or Afghanistan," Fraga said. "The purpose of this project is to increase awareness of parents and professionals about the impact of deployment, separation, trauma, grief, and loss on very young children."

The organization does this through training, resource and material development and by providing consultation to multi-disciplinary professionals who support families in military communities and states with high deployment rates, she explained. In supporting military families, the military project shares what it knows about deployments, homecomings, psychological and physical injuries that servicemembers experience from a very young child's perspective.

"We know that early experiences matter," Fraga said. "We are committed to raising awareness, preparing professionals and stimulating research so that we continue to assist all children in reaching their full potential through even the most challenging times."

Zero to Three recently became a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

"Our affiliation with America Supports You affords Zero to Three the opportunity, along with other respected organizations, to voice our support and commitment to military families," Fraga said. "Connecting with other home-front groups provides the priceless networking opportunity to understand the work of others, their successes and challenges, and ultimately the opportunities for synergy as we all work to find successful, meaningful, and sustainable outcomes for the military families and young children we support."

*Related Sites:*
Zero to Three  [ ]
Group Helps Military Children Cope with Deployments [ ]