In general, the rate of child abuse and neglect among military families is lower than their civilian counterparts. However, though the overall rate remains lower, researchers have noted that substantiated reports of child maltreatment have risen faster among military families than civilian families, particularly in the last decade.
Prevention services designed specifically for military and veteran families aim to alleviate their unique challenges and stressors, including deployments and separations.
The Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Division of the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) asked the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) to conduct an implementation and impact evaluation of the state’s Military Families and Veterans Prevention Program (MVP).
The need for prevention services is particularly great in Texas, which has the third highest active-duty military population in the U.S., with about 10 percent of all active-duty forces in the country. Additionally, nearly 1.7 million veterans and 53,000 Selected Reserve members live in Texas. Texas is also among the top three states serving military connected students, with over 80,000 during the 2014-2015 school year.
The overarching goal of the MVP program is to prevent child abuse and neglect by building and supporting military families’ protective factors, resulting in stronger families and improved military communities.
- What are the unique needs among military and veteran families, and how do these needs vary among members of military and veteran families?
- How do programs serving military and veteran families modify their recruitment strategies, service delivery, or other program elements to most effectively serve these families?
- Do the programs increase protective factors among military and veteran families and prevent incidents of child abuse and neglect?
The research aims guiding the evaluation called for both quantitative and qualitative data analyses. CFRP analyzed Prevention and Early Intervention Reporting System (PEIRS) administrative data, DFPS Information Management Protecting Adults and Children in Texas (IMPACT) data, and contractors and subcontractors annual and quarterly reports. CFRP also conducted multiple personal interviews and focus groups in each site location, the three largest military communities in the state (Bell, Bexar, El Paso Counties).
The final evaluation report details community contexts, evaluation methodology, findings, lessons learned, and policy recommendations.
Find the Executive Summary and full report here: The Military Families and Veterans Pilot Prevention Program: Final Evaluation Report