Barriers to Supporting Military-Connected Children within Civilian Schools: A Mixed Methods Study
Date of this version
children, military, providers, schools
In recent years, the policy, programs, and partnerships that support military-connected children attending civilian schools have become more visible. However, little research has examined school-based providers’ efforts to support these youth. In this mixed methods study, an exploratory sequential design was used to explore multiple providers’ perspectives regarding supportive services for military-connected children in civilian school settings. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with military-affiliated (n = 6) and civilian-school-based (n = 8) providers who worked with military-connected children. Themes identified during these interviews guided the development of a survey that was administered to civilian school social workers (n = 105) working within civilian schools. Results indicate that four primary themes emerged from the interviews with military-affiliated and civilian-school-based providers as barriers to providing services to military-connected children attending civilian schools: (a) the need for better systems to identify military-connected children within civilian schools, (b) competing demands, (c) the need for improved cultural competence with military-connected children, and (d) bi-directional communication between providers. Survey results were used to explore the degree to which civilian school social workers acknowledge themes identified by both groups of providers. Continued dissemination of multiple providers’ perspectives helps facilitate partnership, communication, and the improvement of services that support military-connected children.
Journal of Military and Government Counseling