TOKYO — The military late last month deployed a different sort of team to help schoolchildren at Pacific bases combat the stresses that come when a parent is deployed in wartime.

About a dozen counselors, mental health experts and social workers are now at elementary, middle and high schools on bases in Guam, mainland Japan, Okinawa and South Korea. The effort is part of a worldwide push to place more than 200 such consultants in nearly 300 schools on and near military bases around the world.

“School is one of the most consistent things in our military families’ lives,” said Elaine Daly-Rath, an Air Force school liaison officer on Kadena Air Base on Okinawa. “This is one place where there will be consistency. The teachers and friends are the same. The support is the same.”

Still, that support in school often needs outside help, Daly-Rath and other school officials said. Teachers focus on lessons and learning. Principals make rules and punish those who break them. School counselors often are trained to guide a student toward academic success rather than through the pain and frustration of constant moves and deployments that accompany military family life.

The contracted consultants will work with school staff to provide individual counseling, group activities, parent and teacher workshops — whatever is needed to help children cope with growing up under the strain of wartime deployments. The consultants will stay through the end of the school year then rotate back on 12-week cycles next fall, winter and spring.

“The Department [of Defense] considers this early prevention — an important piece of the care — about how families and children face issues,” said Barbara Thompson, director of the Pentagon’s Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth.

The program began in 2007, when the Pentagon began putting such experts in summer camps attended by children of military families, Thompson said. Now the program has grown to include Department of Defense Education Activity schools on military bases in Europe and Asia and public schools in the States that request the additional help, Thompson said.

“There’s a real difference between an educator and a behavioral health specialist,” Thompson said. “Teachers help children learn. They may not have the tools in their toolbox to set the child onto a path of healthy living.”

But they definitely see the effects of lengthy war conflicts in classrooms and hallways. While, younger children tend to grow frustrated as they figure out how to talk about deployments, teens often retreat into themselves, Thompson said.

A Rand Corporation study late last year found that military pre-teens and teens whose parents had deployed were more likely to have emotional difficulties than their peers whose family are not servicemembers.

“You can’t segregate the servicemember’s family from the impact,” said Mike McClain, principal at Kadena Middle School. “We do see that at school, almost every day. Some need support. Some need intervention.”

Daly-Rath helped introduce a school deployment form at Kadena in February to track parents who are deploying while their families remain on Okinawa.

Airmen sometimes deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan to fill individual slots rather than as entire units; the staggered movement can stress a household but barely cause a ripple across a base. In some cases, that means behavior problems, incomplete assignments or other problems show up before teachers learn that the student is dealing with a major change at home.

The form, which is voluntary, serves as a reminder for parents to let school officials know that a parent will be away for an extended time. Nearly all families with a parent deploying this spring have used it, and schools at a nearby Army base on Okinawa have begun a similar system.

In the next few weeks, the Defense Department will begin surveying military families — from all ranks and services — about the effects of war at home. This fall, the military plans to report to Congress on the effects of the in-school consultants as they help more families deal with ongoing deployments, Thompson said.

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