Statement of the Problem
Military children, and especially those with significant needs*, require access to unique care, at the Service member’s permanent duty location and from providers familiar with their challenges and background. TRICARE authorized providers struggle to access the expertise required to treat these children. These barriers impact mission readiness and retention to military service for military families and the military community.
* “Significant needs” references children with emotional, behavioral, and/or neurodevelopmental concerns. These children are often eligible for or enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP).
The Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) and Kennedy Krieger Institute are working collaboratively on a study to enhance evidenced-based treatment outcomes for military children with developmental and behavioral health needs. The first study activity involves conducting a Needs Assessment with TRICARE authorized professionals serving military children, an important step with the results impacting the development of the other study components.
There are 4 key components to the study:
1) Military Child ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes)
The ECHO, a tele-education and telementoring model, will connect civilian experts in the area of childhood neurobehavioral disorders with TRICARE authorized providers and other professionals in Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) and the civilian community.
2) Telehealth Expansion
The expansion of telehealth services for military families will include exploration of referral options and direct service needs reducing geographic disparities and increasing military family mobility by improving access to high quality, specialized care provided to military children with significant needs
3) Digital tools
The digital tools will focus on the development of an assessment tool for early identification of autism and training on parent-led modules for three of the most prevalent child behavioral concerns (i.e., tantrums, noncompliance, aggression).
4) On Demand Training
The development of a catalog of digital educational materials which will include technical assistance and training tools, such as asynchronous trainings on the topics of military culture, telehealth, and child behavioral health disorders