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Jill Biden, former Sen. Dole honor military caregiver children in Fox News op-ed

AP/Eric Gay

First lady Jill Biden and former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (D-N.C.) honored the children who are tasked with taking care of sick or wounded parents that served in the military.

In an op-ed published on Fox News, the first lady and Dole argued that from a young age, children take on adult-sized problems learning to care for parents who have been severely injured.

The two recounted anecdotes of children who have learned to take care of parents with seizures, dole out the right amount of medication and take on the emotional labor of making their families smile in “hopeless” situations.

“This Month of the Military Child, we are remembering these stories, told to us by a brave group of kids at the White House not long ago—just a snapshot of the 2.3 million kids who are the children of our nation’s wounded, ill, or injured service members and veterans,” Biden and Dole wrote. 

According to a study conducted by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, children of ill military parents experience “frequent disruptions.” These disruptions cause “high levels of stress in children, severely impacting their development and creating health problems, like anxiety, depression, burnout, fatigue, and social isolation.”

These children help with cooking, cleaning, household chores and taking care of younger siblings and sometimes undergo training on what to do in emergency situations with their parents.

An estimated 5.5 million Americans serve as military and veteran caregivers, the two wrote.

The former senator and first lady announced in the op-ed that more than 70 organizations are coming together to offer assistance to these children. 

The organizations want to give financial resources to caregiver families, create training materials for practitioners interacting with kids, make clinical settings more kid-friendly and determine how the government can better support the families, according to the op-ed.

“Caregiver kids are strong. They meet the challenges of their lives with courage and resilience—but they are still kids. They, and their families, shouldn’t have to carry the weight of this responsibility alone,” Biden and Dole said. 

“All of us have a role to play in bringing these hidden helpers out of the shadows, and ensuring that their service and sacrifice are seen and supported,” the op-ed concluded.

Tags caregiver children Caregivers Elizabeth Dole Elizabeth Dole hidden helpers Jill Biden Jill Biden military caregiver children military families Month of the Military Child US military Veterans

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