Military families have a strong presence in Onslow County, which is home to the Marine Corps Base (MCB), Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), New River. In particular, Camp Lejeune occupies nearly a third of Onslow County’s land area, and more than 43,000 Marines and Sailors are stationed here.
With the continued influx of military families into the county, the population of Onslow County is expected to grow, including the population of children. In 2010, children ages 0-17 accounted for 25 percent of the total County population. Almost half of those children are from military families. Over 60% of all children under the age of 1 are military dependents.
The Onslow County Partnership for Children, therefore, considers its service to military families one of its highest priorities. Military children, while similar to all other American children in most respects, face a distinctive set of challenges. We know, for example, that the children of those serving our country move between six and nine times during their school years. In addition, American wars overseas have meant longer and more frequent deployments of parents, and loved ones may return home with serious physical and emotional challenges. The result is that relationships can be tested, caregivers can feel burdened and overwhelmed, and the relief and comfort that extended family can provide may be hundreds or thousands of miles away. These chronic stressors—what scientists have termed “toxic stress”—can have a detrimental effect on children’s development.
Fortunately, there are many ways in which citizens and professionals can help these young people build their resiliency while growing up in a military family and develop in ways that harnesses challenges for good. According to a study on military families, military children tend to be more resourceful and self-starters, especially if they are given the tools and resources they need to succeed.
The Onslow County Partnership for Children provides these tools, including programs and services for caregivers and targeted support for families whose children are having emotional difficulties that may be connected to deployment. Our goal is to ensure that young people whose families are sacrificing so much receive timely and effective support.
For more information, contact the Partnership at 938-0336.
Links to resources and information related to military families: