House-Passed Defense Spending Bill Supports Children from Military Families

  • May 25, 2016
  • Source Eluna
  • Author Eluna
  • Type News

(Pictured from left to right: Jamie Moyer, Mary FitzGerald, Representative Scott Peters (D-CA), Karen Moyer, Brian Maus) 

For Immediate Release
May 25, 2016

House-Passed Defense Spending Bill Supports Children from Military Families

A bipartisan provision in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act would increase access to camps for children grieving the death of someone close to them or a family member’s addiction.

Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, May 18, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 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—supporting children through the death of someone close to them or a family member’s addiction. That key provision was included in the bill due to ardent support from a bipartisan trio of House Armed Services Committee members: Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA), Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Duncan Hunter (R-CA)

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. Eluna’s Camp Mariposa® is an addiction prevention and mentoring program for youth impacted by substance abuse in their families with nine 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 45 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

“All military families make enormous sacrifices, but none suffer more than those who have lost loved ones in service to our nation,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “This bill helps ensure important organizations like Eluna have the resources they need to support these vulnerable military families.”

“The rigors of serving in the Armed Forces affects not just our service members, but their spouses and children as well. I am proud to have worked with Eluna to get this proposal passed that will support military children who are coping with loss or substance abuse in their family,” Congressman Peters said. “Together, we will continue pushing to ensure that America keeps its promises to our service members, veterans, and their families.” 

“For the children of service members who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice, or for kids dealing with a parent that’s been wounded or suffering from the invisible scars of war, camping programs like Eluna allow children to enjoy the innocence of youth and the companionship of others,” said Congressman Hunter.  “I am proud to have supported this amendment to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.”

“We have been committed for years to making sure our military kids impacted by the death of a loved one or addiction in their families can attend our camps free of charge. This legislation will allow us to expand our efforts to meet the needs in our military community. We are grateful for the foresight and efforts of our Congressional champions who advanced this legislation,” stated Karen and Jamie Moyer, co-founders of Eluna.

Eluna applauds the leadership shown today by the House on behalf of children grieving or living in a family with a substance use disorder.

Supporting Statistics

  • Abuse of prescription drugs is higher among service members than civilians and is on the increase. In 2008, 11 percent of service members reported misusing prescription drugs, up from 2 percent in 2002 and 4 percent in 2005. Most of the prescription drugs misused by service members are opioid pain medication.
  • Young adult veterans are particularly likely to have substance use or other mental health problems. According to a report of veterans in 2004-2006, a quarter of 18- to 25-year-old veterans met criteria for a past-year substance use disorder.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Media Contact: Rachel Lockmon
(206) 298-1217;

About Eluna

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