Senate-Passed Defense Spending Bill Supports Children from Military Families

  • June 16, 2016
  • Source Eluna
  • Author Eluna
  • Type News

Eluna co-founder Karen Moyer (left) pictured with Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) (right).


For Immediate Release

June 16, 2016                                                            


Senate-Passed Defense Spending Bill Supports Children from Military Families

A bipartisan provision in the Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act would increase access to camps for military children.

Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, June 14, 2016, the U.S. Senate 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. That key provision was included in the bill due to ardent support from a bipartisan partnership of Senate Armed Services Committee members, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN)

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 ten 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.

“Military families serve too, and it is important that programs exist to address the needs of military families who endure unique challenges and hardships,” said Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). “As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the spouse of a combat veteran, I was proud to work with Senator Donnelly to include language that would allow the Department of Defense to support the attendance of the children of service members at camps, and I will continue to advocate on behalf of military families.”

“Military families sacrifice alongside their loved ones in uniform, and they deserve our support and gratitude,” said Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN). “I am proud to work with Eluna to expand access for military kids to programs like Camp Mariposa and Camp Erin that can help them cope with the loss of a parent or a family member's struggle with addiction."

“We have seen first-hand that the experiences endured by our service men and women affect their families, too. We remain committed to outreach for military kids impacted by the death of a loved one or addiction in their families to attend our camps, free of charge. This legislation will allow us the opportunity to expand our efforts to continue meeting the needs of our military community,” stated Karen and Jamie Moyer, co-founders of Eluna. “We are grateful for the foresight and advocacy of our Senate champions who advanced this legislation.”

Eluna applauds the leadership shown today by the Senate on behalf of military children grieving or living in a family with a substance use disorder.  We look forward to working with Senators Ayotte and Donnelly through conference to provide more clarity to the language in the final NDAA.

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