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Long and frequent deployments, with short dwell times in between, have placed stresses on Army children and families already challenged by frequent moves and parental absences. RAND Arroyo Center was asked by the Army to examine the effects of parental deployments on children's academic performance as well as their emotional and behavioral well-being in the school setting. The researchers found that children whose parents have deployed 19 months or more since 2001 have modestly lower, statistically different achievement scores compared to those who have experienced less or no parental deployment. This finding held across states and academic subjects; is consistent across rank or component of the soldier, seniority of the soldier, gender of the deploying parent, and gender of the child; and has been stable since 2001. Based on interviews with school staff having experience with children of deployed soldiers and with experts and key stakeholders in behavioral health, the report describes the academic and behavioral health challenges these children face related to deployment, identifies the barriers to addressing these challenges, and offers recommendations to better meet the needs of these children.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and was conducted by RAND Arroyo Center.

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