UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Since its inception in 2010, the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State has provided professionals who deliver direct assistance to military families with information to help identify, select, and implement the right evidence-based programs and practices to address wide-ranging family and mental health issues.
The Clearinghouse has reviewed and vetted thousands of programs over 10 years and was recently notified their core funding from the United States Department of Defense would be renewed for another five years.
“The Clearinghouse examines how we can use science to help address unique challenges and questions facing military personnel and their families, and make a positive difference in their lives,” said Daniel Perkins, principal scientist and founder of the Clearinghouse and professor of family and youth resiliency and policy in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education within the College of Agricultural Sciences.
The Clearinghouse takes a solution-oriented approach that includes writing research reports, conducting applied research studies, building workforce expertise through training and resource provision, implementing and evaluating evidence-informed programs and practices, and delivering objective data and policy-relevant findings so that decisions are based on the best science and evidence available. The Clearinghouse is located within Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute and employs more than 50 staff members and two graduate students.
“Part of our goal is to ensure that military families are receiving the best tools to support themselves,” said Perkins. “Military families have unique challenges with higher stress and levels of uncertainty and danger, and we owe it to them to do the best we can at providing effective services.”
Among several partners, the Clearinghouse currently collaborates with the Department of Defense, the Office of Reserve Affairs, and the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps, focusing its research on suicide prevention; child and youth programming; new parent support programs; child abuse and neglect; and domestic violence.
Perkins recently completed serving as co-principal investigator of The Veteran Metrics Initiative (TVMI), a large-scale longitudinal study of post-911 transitioning veterans. Perkins and other Penn State researchers, as partners in the TVMI, have analyzed data collected from 9,566 veterans who recently transitioned from military service to civilian life.
In a new initiative, the Clearinghouse and TVMI are developing a collaborative network that will focus future research on post-9/11 veterans, known as the VETeran Evaluation and Research Applications Network (VETERANetwork). An introduction to the VETERANetwork will take place through a new webinar series for veteran-focused philanthropies beginning on Sept. 24. The series will highlight outcomes from the TVMI Study, explain the new study (VETS survey), and explore future research and outreach opportunities.
"The Clearinghouse is an outstanding example of Penn State’s realization of the 21st-century land-grant mission and also of engaged scholarship,” said Laszlo Kulcsar, professor of sociology and department head of agricultural economics, sociology, and education. “Dr. Perkins and his team are deeply committed to advancing evidence-based interventions to improve the lives of those who serve or have served and their families."