Posted by Peggy Kaufman, Director of the Center for Early Relationship Support

Our nation is at war, two wars to be exact. Though most of us are concerned about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, we do not necessarily think about them on a daily or even weekly basis, especially as their media coverage has faded. But for those who are serving or have served in these wars, and their loved ones, the impact is pervasive.

Many of these military families have babies, toddlers, or preschoolers, as children aged birth to five are disproportionately represented among parents who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anyone who serves families needs to understand the unique experiences and challenges that military parents face during the deployment cycle.

To this end, the next Master Class of the JF&CS Infant-Parent Training Institute will be a presentation from two leaders of the Strong Families Strong Forces (SFSF) initiative, which is led by the Boston University School of Social Work. SFSF is a home-based, short-term intervention designed for families with very young children who have a parent returning from Iraq or Afghanistan. This program strives to ease the service members' transition to home and emphasizes the child-parent relationship, since these families face not only the same stressors as any parents of young children but also are at risk for many negative effects of war exposure.

We are looking forward to hearing more about the lessons learned from this program that we can all bring to our work with families.

Peggy Kaufman has been the Director of the Center for Early Relationship Support for over 20 years. In her role she has provided support to countless new mothers and their babies.