AMES, Iowa--Educators and social workers can attend a training institute hosted by the Iowa Operation: Military Kids team Oct. 23-24, 2007, at the Army Reserve Center in Des Moines. The training will focus on ways to recognize and respond to the issues and stresses that confront children of deployed servicemen and women.
The two-day institute, “Supporting Children of the National Guard and Reserve,” offers research and experience-based training taught by members of the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC), a national non-profit organization. MCEC assists military families, installations, school systems and communities deal with issues of transition and mobility. Since the launch of the Global War on Terror, MCEC has offered educators the awareness and skills needed to provide sensitivity and support for children of deployed members of the National Guard, Reserve, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines.
“The unprecedented and continuing deployment of large numbers of National Guard and Reserve service members creates the need for strong support of their families and children on the home front,” said retired Brig. Gen. Keith Martin, program manager for the institute.
National Guard and Reserve families live throughout Iowa, so every county has children who are affected, Martin said. Currently nearly 1,700 Iowa children of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve have loved ones deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. With other service branches added in, the number rises to thousands of youth facing the realities of possible wartime deployments.
Martin noted, “Guard and Reserve children are often far from the support systems and services available from military installations. This can leave the children isolated and anonymous, especially in largely rural states like Iowa. The purpose of our training is to help military children where they live by increasing the awareness of their school administrators, guidance counselors, teachers and school nurses.”
Educators who attend the institute will learn how they can help connect a child with the specific help that child might need, such as family readiness, children and youth services and family assistance programs available through the National Guard and Reserve and supported by federal, state and local professional and volunteer programs.
The institute has no cost to participants and includes breakfasts, lunches, refreshments and all training materials. The institute is accredited by IACET (International Association for Continuing Education Training) and meets the National Staff Development Council’s standards and the National Standards for School Counseling Programs.
Participants can earn professional development credit upon completion of the institute and its12 contact hours of instruction. Heartland AEA will offer one license renewal credit for $25 and Drake University will offer one graduate credit for $90. Registration for these credits will take place onsite. In addition, the Iowa Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has approved 12 hours of continuing social work education for participants and will offer this credit for $12. Participants must attend both days to receive credit.
MCEC has conducted the institute 43 times in 27 states with more than 1,700 educators completing the course. For more information about the institute, contact the MCEC, Linda Neault at (254) 953-1923 or Linda.Neault@militarychild.org. In Iowa, also contact Chris Cook-Leitz, assistant project director for Iowa OMK at (515) 333-3818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Operation: Military Kids is a partnership between the U.S. Army Child and Youth Services and Iowa State University Extension 4-H Youth Development. Other national partners include The American Legion, Boys and Girls Club of America, MCEC and the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.