You shared your experiences with us, and we’re sharing them with the world.
Thousands of military and Veteran family members (over 9,000!) took time from busy lives last May, June, and July to share their stories with us. The data you shared allowed our team to dive deep into the issues and identify opportunities for change. Some of these challenges are perennial, like military spouse employment struggles that have been a top issue for years. Other challenges, like relocation and housing costs, have been steadily increasing over the past few years.
If you are living the military or Veteran life, some of these results may come as no surprise. Others might be more surprising than you think. Even as an Army spouse of 17 years, these findings both resonate and surprise me. I am saddened by the number of military families who report experiencing food insecurity and who struggle to find suitable housing for their families, subsidizing their BAH benefit by spending thousands of dollars out of pocket for safe housing with good schools for their children. I see my neighbors, friends, and colleagues in the respondents who want to do whatever they can to support loved ones in crisis — through a deployment, miscarriage, health scare, or mental health crisis. I hear about families who rise to the challenge of finding affordable child care or mental health care for their children, only to relocate and start the search and the waitlist all over again. I celebrate the successes of military spouses who were able to maintain their remote employment through a relocation, starting off in a new duty station without having to leave their career behind.
In case you missed it, you can catch the release event and the Data Deep Dives, where our research team discusses the findings and where we go next, in The Neighborhood.
Now comes the important part — sharing these findings with change-makers to continue the work. Military leaders at all levels, legislative representatives, local, state, and national governments, military- and Veteran-serving organizations, employers, and many others all have a role to play in supporting and strengthening our All-Volunteer Force. We are sharing these findings with all these stakeholders and more, so that they can incorporate the voices of real military and Veteran families in their policies and programs — to better support YOU.
But there’s more! On May 2nd, we’ll release a special report drawn from the 2022 MFLS data that you shared with us: Building Bridges to Belonging for Military Families of Color. In it, the second report in our Campaign for Inclusion Research Series, we will highlight the community attributes that help build, or undermine, that critical sense of belonging to a community, as well as the impact experiences that racially/ethnically-motivated discrimination has on community belonging and willingness to recommend military service to young family members.
It is an honor to be entrusted with the experiences and stories of so many of my fellow military and Veteran families. I know how precious your time is, and I sincerely thank you for sharing it with me and our Blue Star Families’ team! I look forward to hearing what you have to say next when our 2023 MFLS launches on May 24th!
Senior Director of Applied Research
DoD Releases Policies to Ensure Access to Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care
Recently, the Department of Defense released new policies aimed at expanding service members’ access to reproductive health care after the overturn of Roe v. Wade. These policies include:
- Fully paid travel expenses for service members who have to travel out of state in order to obtain an abortion
- Up to three weeks of paid leave for abortion or fertility treatment, including those accompanying a dependant or spouse
- Extending the timeframe for service members to inform their commanders about a pregnancy status until up to 20 of weeks of pregnancy
Military departments have 30 days to implement and incorporate these policies. Travel must be approved by a commander, but these policies are written to urge authorities to grant these requests.
Got a Nervous Nate? This Could Help!
Spiritune, a Blue Star Perks Partner, is honoring our MilKids this Month of the Military Child with a complimentary app subscription ($299 VALUE). A timely offer given our recent research that reveals many (43%) of our military kids are strained with worries about deployments, upcoming PCSes, and more. Music is one way to help calm their nerves, and Spiritune does just that. Sign your MilKid up free by using code “BSFCHILD” at checkout.
We Want to Hear From You!
As a member of Blue Star Families, you are an important stakeholder and we value your opinion. We’d like to invite you to our annual stakeholders meeting on April 20th at 3 PM ET. Learn about our work over the last year and preview our biggest initiatives for 2023.
Welcome to Blue Star Careers!
Our NEW Blue Star Careers Community is a safe digital space for military spouses - with easy access and a 2-way relationship. You get to be an active participant in our digital community network by telling us what you need to be career-ready, and we provide you with the resources you need to be successful. Log in, review our content, participate, and grow your career: #Bilingual Talent Welcome!
Military Spouse Employment Research Project
Thanks to the generous support of USAA, PenFed and Navy Federal Credit Union, we are conducting a longitudinal study to narrow down what works to help military spouses find and maintain employment! Half (51%) of spouse respondents participated in an employment support program in the months preceding the first wave of our study. This is only one piece of the critical information we hope to gather over the next two years.
Thank You Starbucks Partners and BSF Volunteers!
A huge thank you to all of our volunteers and Starbucks partners who worked together to host more than 50 events last month around our Nourish the Service program! Highlighting military family food insecurity and providing resources to local families is so important and we appreciate all of your wonderful efforts.
Thank You, Blue Star Partners!
In February, our DEPLOY Fellows and some Blue Star Families staff had the unique opportunity to attend a Georgetown University training. The information they received there is invaluable. A huge thank you for the generous support of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lockheed Martin, Salesforce, BAE Systems, USAA, McCormick Foundation, and Wells Fargo. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of many, and for that, we are grateful. Thank you!
Together, we are creating more opportunities for military families in Chapter locations and around the country to get connected. We are making a difference in the lives of many, and for that, we are grateful. Thank you!
Thank you, Comcast, for supporting Military spouse employment initiatives. With your support, Blue Star Careers program is expanding the pipeline of diverse talent professionals and welcoming #bilingualtalent to the workforce!
Sneak Peak: Military Spouse Appreciation
Get ready because Blue Star Families' Annual Military Spouse Appreciation Celebration sponsored by T-Mobile is almost here! May 12th, National Military Spouse Appreciation Day, is the one time of year we celebrate YOU – our nation's unsung heroes. And this year's giveaways will be epic. (Think: Starbucks, COACH, and much more). Stay tuned for more info coming soon.
Protect Your Military Family from Cybercriminals
Stop and read! Because you're a military family, you're at higher risk for identity theft and fraud than your civilian counterparts. And one of the most common ways for cybercriminals to access your personal info is through your MilKid and their online accounts. Aura, a security expert and trusted Blue Star Partner, designed a Military Kids Online Safety Guide to help you protect your family. Grab it here. Oh, and Blue Star Families members get up to 50% off Aura protection plans, starting with a two-week free trial.