Every year, 600,000 military-connected families and children move around the country. The average military family moves three times as often as their civilian peers, and the majority of these “permanent change of station” (PCS) moves take place during the summer. But only 27% of military families reported feeling a sense of belonging to their local civilian community, according to the 2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey.
Finding access to quality, affordable child care is an essential component of a smooth transition, and Blue Star Families, Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) are determined to help military children all over the country feel welcome. That’s why Blue Star Families created Blue Star Welcome Week, an initiative to recognize the active-duty and transitioning military families and their children who move to new communities each year. The year, the initiative is celebrated September 25 – October 3, 2021.
During Blue Star Welcome Week, Blue Star Families and CCAoA's goal is to proactively improve military families’ sense of belonging to their local communities by forging strong connections between military family members and their civilian neighbors, with an emphasis on identifying child care support for military families.
While more than 70% of military families live off-base in their local civilian communities, many do not feel a strong sense of belonging to those communities. In addition, 24% of active-duty respondents listed child care as a top issue that is often compounded by a military move.
What Can CCR&Rs Do?
There are several ways that CCR&Rs can play an active, supportive role during Blue Star Welcome Week:
- Connect with Blue Star Family chapter directors in your local area.
- Share Welcome Week resources with child care programs within your community, and community partners such as the local library or food bank.
- Post-Welcome Week signage at your agency.
- Share Welcome Week resources via your website, social media, and/or newsletter and print materials.
Visit the Blue Star Welcome Week website to learn more, find helpful resources and show your support.