Tennessee Offers Many Programs to Support Military Families
April is Month of the Military Child. The State of Tennessee thanks Tennessee military members, veterans and their families for their commitment and sacrifice in service to our state and country.
Month of the Military Child is an annual observance in Tennessee and across the country to honor military children. It’s an opportunity to highlight the commitment, contributions and sacrifices military children make.
Tennessee is home to 38,000 military children, making it the 12th-largest military child state in the country. It’s also the 13th-largest veterans state, and there are more than 100,000 veteran-connected children in Tennessee.
April has been nationally recognized as Month of the Military Child since 1986. In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam has proclaimed April as Military Child Month during his time in office.
Tennessee offers a variety of programs, services and events in support of military members and their families:
Our Military Kids. This nonprofit organization supports children from age 5 through 12th grade of deployed National Guard members and children of wounded warriors from all military branches. Grants pay for participation in activities that help children cope with stress and anxiety while their parent is absent or recovering.
Tennessee National Guard Child and Youth Program (CYP). CYP offers activities designed to promote positive youth development and to support the strengths and challenges of Tennessee National Guard children. The out-of-school time program helps children develop coping skills and resilience.
Tennessee National Guard Family Assistance Centers (FACs). FACs assist families of military service members during peacetime and during training or deployment. An FAC provides "one-stop shopping” to help family members cope with any issue as military dependents.
Military OneSource (MOS). This 24/7 resource website offers consultations, coaching and counseling for many aspects of military life. MOS provides services such as tax services, spouse employment help, webinars and online training. It also offers relocation and deployment tools.
Child Care Aware/Army Fee Assistance Program. Eligible families can receive monthly fee assistance to help offset the cost of child care. Fee assistance compensates for the difference between a community-based provider rate and the rate at a military installation for similar services.
United Through Reading (UTR). UTR serves military personnel during times of separation from children. Service members can make a video recording of reading a book and mail it to their child. In most cases, the book can be mailed, too.
American Red Cross. The organization offers confidential services to all members of the military, veterans and their families by connecting them with local, state and national resources. That connection is made through Red Cross’ network of chapters in communities across the U.S. and offices on military installations worldwide.
Excused Absence Law. A state law allows for excused absences for military children during a deployment. Students can have up to 10 days of excused absences during the service member’s deployment cycle.
Purple Up Day April 13, 2018. For this annual event, show your support for military children by wearing purple on April 13. Purple symbolizes all branches of the military. It’s a combination of Army green, Air Force blue, Coast Guard blue, Marine red and Navy blue.
TN STRONG ACT 2017 Tuition Reimbursement Program. This program reimburses eligible members of the Tennessee National Guard for college tuition payments. The reimbursement provides 100 percent of the maximum resident undergraduate in-state tuition charged by the post-secondary institution the member attends.
Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC). MCEC works to ensure quality educational opportunities for all military children affected by moving, transition issues and family separation.
Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3). MIC3 helps military children with the challenges that come with school transitions following moves. It addresses key issues faced by military families: eligibility, enrollment, placement and graduation.
Military Discounts in Tennessee
Blue Star Museums. Blue Star Museums offer free admission to active duty military personnel and their families, including the National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This collaboration includes the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and museums across America.
Nashville Shores. The waterpark offers a military discount with valid military ID.
Dollywood. Dolly Parton’s theme park in Pigeon Forge offers a military discount with a valid military ID.
Nashville Zoo. The zoo offers $1 off admission with a valid military ID.
Memphis Zoo. The zoo offers discounted tickets through any active duty base.
Most military children are healthy and resilient. But in some situations, such as deployments and frequent moving, they can develop mental challenges. Click here to find some support resources for children through the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.