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At-War Soldiers' Kids Suffer at Home

Child Neglect, Abuse: One Cost of Long, Repeated Military Deployments

Help for Military Families continued...

"The Army has put a lot of money into adding more social workers and psychologists and psychiatrists to be available to our families, particularly with the levels of depression we are beginning to see," Johnson says. "We think we have the right programs in place. The chief of staff and the secretary [of defense] with their infusion of dollars are saying we are there for families. This means we are adding more home visitors to our new-parent support, and making more of a move for child care to give parents a break, in addition to other services we have available."

The current study does not address another problem for military families -- the stress of returning veterans with physical or psychological problems.

"What we know is, if they come home with a war-related psychological disorder such as PTSD, there is a substantial increase in risk for additional family conflict such as domestic violence or emotional problems with the children," Fairbank says. "The unknown is of how this will play out in terms of the newer aspects of this war -- such as high rates of traumatic brain injury -- and what risk this will pose for child maltreatment. So it is very important for these issues to be addressed now, both by providing services and by studying what is going on so we can learn from it."

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