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Become a Better Parent, Earn Gift Cards: Join This Study

Rocks lie on a table during the Kids on Wheels Parade on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., April 28, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Ariel Owings)
Rocks lie on a table during the Kids on Wheels Parade on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., April 28, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Ariel Owings)

There's no question that child and abuse and neglect is a problem among military families both on and off base. And while officials aren't sure why, exactly, families are suffering, one thing is absolutely known: As a community, we need to do a better job protecting our kids.

Some of those efforts focus on education. At the University of Minnesota, researchers have developed a parenting education program known as ADAPT to help "buffer children from deployment stress and promote resilience in families."

Originally developed for and tested on the state's National Guard and Reserve families, the university has received a grant from the Defense Department to trial the program on active-duty Army families, with a special focus on Special Forces soldiers with a high op-tempo.

"Families' needs differ. Some parents need or want less intensive or online programs, whereas others may need more intensive or in-person programs; some parents may do better in a group program whereas others may need individual support," researchers said on their site. "In addition, ADAPT was originally developed primarily for Reserve component families. In this study, we will modify ADAPT specifically for Special Operations families dealing with high OPTEMPO environments, as well as for 'regular' Army families."

ADAPT researchers are looking specifically for several hundred families at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Both bases have a mix of special operations and regular Army soldiers.

And both bases have high op-tempos for basically everyone. If you're at Bragg or Campbell, you've probably just returned from deployment or are getting ready to go back.

Bonus: Participants can earn up to $520 in gift cards over the course of the study.

To qualify, families must be at Bragg or Campbell and have experienced one deployment in the last five years or, if special forces, must have deployed twice in the last three years.

Families can apply for the study online.

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