Since our inception, The American Legion realized a need to care for and protect our nation’s most valuable resources – our children.  In 1925, our national Child Welfare Division adopted the “Whole Child” plan.  This provides that “the child of every veteran should have a home, health, education, character and opportunity,” and is founded on three guiding principles:

  • To strengthen the family unit against the forces of today’s complex society.
  • To extend support to organizations and facilities providing services for children.
  • To maintain a well-rounded program that meets the needs of today’s young people.

The National Commission on Children & Youth is at the center of the Legion’s youth-support efforts. The commission meets annually to decide the direction of the Children & Youth Division, which has three main objectives: to strengthen families, to support quality organizations that provide services to young people, and to maintain well-rounded initiatives that meet the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs of our nation’s youth.

Internally managed programs include the Family Support Network and Temporary Financial Assistance. Both provide relief for military families with minor children who are struggling with the challenges of being without a deployed parent. The Legion also maintains Youth Suicide Prevention and Halloween Safety programs.

Externally, the Legion partners with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) and Operation: Military Kids. COTA provides fundraising assistance and support to families with children who need or have had life-saving organ transplants. Operation: Military Kids is a U.S. Army initiative that supports children and youth affected by a parent’s deployment.

The American Legion recognizes that families of depolyed and activated military personnel face special difficulties and hardships. With the help of the Family Support Network they don’t
have to shoulder this burden alone.

Families can connect to local American Legion Family members by requesting assistance through the nation-wide toll free number of electronic application.

Legionnaires at the post level then provide assistance that can range from minor household chores and repairs, completing a Temporary financial Assistance application, to connecting the family to existing local programs.

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Family Support Network

TFA is the landmark program of the National Commission on Children & Youth and was established in 1925, as a form of direct aid to childtren. Through TFA, a Post can call upon the National Organization for cash assistance to help maintain the basic needs of veterans’ children. Funds are granted to eligible families when it has been determined by investigation that the child is in need and that all other local resourcdes have been exhausted or are not available to provice the required assistance. TFA can help families in meeting the costs of shelter, food, utilties and health expense items when the parents are unable to do so, thereby affording the child, or children, a more stable home environment.

The veteran does not have to be a member of The American Legion, but they must be eligible and there must be a minor child in the home. Eligible children include biological children of an eligible veteran or children in the custody of an eligible veteran. TFA applications are obtained and must be submitted through the Department Children & Youth Chairman or Department Adjutant.

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Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA)

Temporary Financial Assistance Application

A guiding principle of The American Legion’s Children & Youth Programs continues to be maintaining the integrity of the family. To demonstrate our resolute belief of the importance of string families. To demonstrate our resolute belief of the importance of strong families. The American Legion National Commission on Children & Youth, by mandate, advocates the passage of federal legislation that would establish the Thanksgiving Holiday Week as national Family Week. All members of The American Legion Family are encouraged to initiate and engage in local activities during National Family Week that promotes, encourages, and celebrates the center of a healthy community:the family.

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National Family Week

When National Guard and REserve parents are mobilized, their children suddenly have unique needs for special support and services.  Operation: Military Kids exist to garner community resources to provide the needed support and to highlight the challenges thses children face.  The American Legion is a proud partner of this program and urges support from all levels of the organization to assist the children of our comrades while they serve our nation.

For Information in Alaska click below:

Alaska: Operation Military Kids

The American Legion believes that every child should have access to adequate healthcare.  We have partnered with several organizations that share this philosophy.  our collective effort to increase the quality of life for children is making a difference in the lives of millions of children every year.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Pop Tab Collection Program

This national fundraising project encourages the collection of aluminum pop tabs to support local Ronald McDonald Houses.  This program helps with funds to provide housing fo rfinancially challenged families with seriously ill or injured children who must undergo medical treatments at a children’s hospital.

The American Legion stands for a strong America. There is no better way to bring this about than to work with the youth of our land in preparing them to meet the tasks they will face in the years to come.

Through its many youth activities, The American Legion is playing the leading role in developing furture citizens of America. Authorized by resolution, The American Legion works with and supports many youth organizations.

Children need specialized care and equipment that only children’s hospitals can provide. Children’s Miracle Network hospotals provide state-of-the are care, life-saving research and preventative education 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Every year, Children’s Miracle Network hospitals treat 17 million children for every disease and injury imaginable, impacting the lives of more children than any other children’s organization in the world.

The American Legion’s ongoing commitment to improve the quality of life for our nation’s children parallels Children’s Miracle Network’s own mission. Supporting Children’s Miracle Network hospitals in their efforts to provide quality health care to all children is the right thing to do and is a natural for The American Legion Family.

A corporate partner since 1998, The American Legion family has contributed nearly $20 million fo rchildren’s Miracle network hospitals to ensure that the best care is available whenever children need it.

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Children’s Miracle Network

Annual Covering Kids and Families Back-To-School Campaign is a program designed to encourage the enrollment of uninsured children that are eligible for coverage through Medicaid or the State Children’s Health insurance Program.

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Covering Kids and Families Back-To-School Campaign

The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, a 501(c)(3), is “dedicated to the betterment of all children.” Its purpose:

To contribute to the physical, mental, emotional and spirtual needs of children and youth through the dissemination of knowledge about new innovative organizations and their programs. 

To make wider, more effective use of the knowledge already possessed by well-established organizations to the end that such information will benefit youth and be more adequately used by society.

The Child Welfare Foundation accomplishes these goals each year by awarding grants to nonprofit youth-serving organizations for the explicit use of disseminating information that conforms to the foundation’s purpose.  Since 1955, over $8 million has been granted to help deserving organizations produce and disseminate current and valuable information.

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Child Welfare Foundation

Child Welfare Foundation Application

The Endowment Fund Corporation is a 501(c)(3) organization,  Funds for the operation of the Temporary Financial Assistance program are provided from a share of the earnings of the Endowment Fund.

In 1925, World War I had been over for 6 years, but for veterans and their widows and children, the years had been a continuing struggle to adjust to the war’s aftermath. The members of The American Legion, aware of the grave responsibility entrusted to them by those who had served, knew the time had come to take action.  more than 900,000 Legionnaires, American Legion Auxiliary members, and other American citizens joined the campaign, raising nearly $5 million and establishing The American Legion Endowment Fund.

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The Endowment Fund

Everyday 15,000 children are waiting for an organ transplant and another 5,000 are in need of a bone marrow transplant. COTA exists to assist families in raising funds to assist with lifesaving organ and bone marrow transplants. All monies raised are tax deductible and stay local to assist the family transplant-related expenses.

For more information click below:

Children’s Organ Transplant

Special Olympics is an International nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition.  Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and competition to 2.5 million adults and children with intellectual disabilities across 165 countries.

The Special Olympics movement offers one of the world’s greatest platforms of acceptance and inclusion for all people – regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or cultural differences.  Find out how you can become involved by contacting your Department Headquarters or Department of Children & Youth Chairman.

The National Commission on Children & Youth urges all its posts, districts and departments to work with and support Special Olympics programs to increase community awareness and opportunities for children and adults with intyellectual disabilities and to foster public acceptance of differences.

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Special Olympics

The American Legion National Commission on Children & Youth believes that child safety is everybody’s business. Prevention through education remains the best way to keep children safe. To promote child safety, the Commission publishes several useful brochures designed to educate children and parents and supports numerous national initiatives to keep children safe.

Gateway Drugs

Alcohol, tobacco, inhalants and marijuana are often readily available and considered to be the entryway to a life of drug dependency and delinquency. Gateway drugs are so- called because the use of these drugs often leads to drug abuse, addiction and to the use of other drugs such as heroin, cocaine and LSD. The Commission asks all members of The American Legion Family to educate parents and children in their communities about the dangers of gateway drugs.

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Gateway Drugs

Play it Safe

Outlines the six most common causes of accidental death for children and how to avoid them.

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Play it Safe