Medical News and Perspectives
October 6, 2004

When Military Parents Are Sent to War, Children Left Behind Need Ample Support

JAMA. 2004;292(13):1541-1542. doi:10.1001/jama.292.13.1541

When one US soldier—a single mother of twins—was deployed to Iraq for a year, she sent one twin to live with her own parents and the other to her former husband’s parents. Although military family life is only rarely disrupted to this extent, even two-parent families find that the deployment of one parent often prompts the other to move nearer to relatives, forcing children to change schools and leave friends.

“Soldiers’ children once worried only about their parents’ being in an unsafe place,” said Jean Silvernail, EdD, who directs services for the military child in transition and deployment in the Department of Defense (DoD) educational opportunities directorate. “Now, with threats of terrorism at home,” she said, “they also worry about having been left in an unsafe place.”

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