For Immediate Release
2017 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT SUPPORTS CHILDREN FROM MILITARY FAMILIES
A bipartisan provision in the National Defense Authorization Act would increase access to camps for military children affected by grief or addiction.
Washington, D.C. – On December 8, 2016, Congress passed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including an important provision providing the Department of Defense with the authority to support military children’s attendance at camps—like those offered by Eluna. That key provision was included in the bill due to ardent support from a bipartisan partnership of Senators and Representatives including Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Representative Scott Peters (D-CA), Representative Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Representative Tim Walz (D-MN) and Representative Joe Heck (R-NV).
The provision authorizes the Department of Defense to fund organizations to support children from military families who:
1. have experienced the death of a family member or other loved one, or
2. who have a family member living with a substance use disorder, or
3. who have a family member living with post-traumatic stress disorder
At least 8.3 million children in the United States, including those from military families, live in a home where at least one family member is in need of treatment for a substance use disorder. Children who are experiencing family addiction are at a greater risk to suffer from depression, anxiety, health and learning challenges and develop a substance use disorder of their own. Eluna’s Camp Mariposa® is an addiction prevention and mentoring program for youth impacted by substance abuse in their families with eleven locations nationwide.
More than 1.5 million children nationwide are grieving the death of a parent, including many children from military families. Statistics show grieving children are at a much greater risk than their peers for depression, suicide, poverty and substance abuse. As the largest national childhood bereavement program, Eluna’s Camp Erin® is serving youth in 43 locations in the U.S.
“Eluna applauds the leadership taken by Congress today on behalf of military children affected by grief or a family member’s addiction,” Eluna CEO Mary FitzGerald said. “We look forward to working closely with our Congressional champions and the Department of Defense to expand our outreach and serve more children of military families so that they receive comfort, hope and healing through our nationwide youth programs, Camp Erin and Camp Mariposa, that provide critical mentoring, addiction prevention and bereavement services.”
According to a Department of Defense study, the overall rate of civilian prescription drug misuse was 4.4%, the rate for veterans was 11.7%, over two-and-a-half times higher than the civilian rate.
A report by the American Public Health Association in 2011 found that the fatal overdose rate among VA patients is nearly double the national average.
Researchers also found the risk of suicide for veterans is 21 percent higher when compared to civilian adults.
A VA study found that 20 veterans commit suicide each day.
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Eluna is a public, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to provide comfort, hope and healing to children and families affected by grief and addiction. Founded in 2000 by MLB pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen, Eluna supports thousands of children and families each year through its free signature programs and services. Camp Erin® is the largest national bereavement program for children and teens grieving the death of someone significant in their lives. Camp Mariposa® is an addiction prevention and mentoring program for youth impacted by the substance abuse of a family member. Eluna Resource Center extends the Foundation’s continuum of care by providing robust online resources and personalized support for families experiencing grief or addiction. For more information, please visit elunanetwork.org.