DoD-State Liaison Group Announces Top Priorities for Military Families in 2024

DoD-State Liaison Group Announces Top Priorities for Military Families in 2024
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Continued focus on improving employment opportunities for military spouses and ensuring access to quality child care are among the 2024 policy priorities for the Defense-State Liaison Office (DSLO), a DoD agency which works with state lawmakers to improve policies impacting military family well-being. 


Since 2008, DSLO has helped state policymakers enact more than 1,150 bills covering a variety of issues impacting military families. Each year, the agency publishes a list of legislative priorities.


The 10 key issue areas for 2024:

  • Military access to quality family child care (FCC)
  • Military employment and economic opportunities
  • Defining armed forces in state policy
  • Military community representation on state boards and councils
  • State support for military families with special education needs
  • Open enrollment flexibility
  • Child abuse identification and reporting
  • Military family anti-discrimination status
  • State response to military interpersonal violence
  • Concurrent juvenile jurisdiction


Find out what progress your state has made on the above issues by visiting MOAA’s Military State Report Card and Tax Guide, which features a clickable map.


Military Children

Several of DSLO’s 2024 priorities focus on protecting and improving quality of life for military children. Conducting a PCS move presents many challenges – finding a new child care provider, enrolling military students in a new school, and, if needed, ensuring those students have continued support for their special education needs.


FCCs are a great resource for military families and a potential career path for military spouses. Unfortunately, the red tape required to establish and transfer an FCC across state lines continues to negatively impact this program that could offer solutions to the unique child care needs of servicemembers.


DSLO urges states to recognize military family child care certifications, in lieu of requiring state licensing. A dozen states had “advanced priorities” in this area as of Oct. 3, according to DSLO, including Alaska and Oklahoma – states that led the way when this was introduced as a DSLO initiative in 2023.


Military families are disadvantaged when it comes to school enrollment options due to short-fuse orders and lack of available, affordable housing. States can provide families with improved schooling options by modifying open enrollment policies with a military clause, placement stability provision, or military priority category. Not only does this impact education options, but it also negatively affects student athletes.


As Partners in PROMISE has identified previously, military families with special education needs experience recurring educational disruptions and challenges related to PCS moves. DSLO urges states to assist by streamlining processes to ensure timely establishment of comparable services upon relocation to help reduce burdens and provide continuity of support.


[RELATED: Child Care Fees Plunge for Many Military Families Under New DoD Rate Setup]


Military Spouse Employment and Economic Opportunities

Prior to the enactment of the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act, DSLO played an instrumental part in the development of interstate licensing compacts and the expedited enrollment for military spouses passed in more than 35 states. The Licensing Relief Act was signed into law as a provision within the Veterans Auto and Education Improvement Act and should reduce barriers for military spouses working in licensed or credentialed fields to find employment when PCSing across state lines. DSLO will strive to ensure licensing agencies make their application processes accessible and known to military spouses.


One of the newly added priorities, military community representation on state boards and councils, will help members of the military community get involved at state and local levels. Adding a military perspective to these panels is necessary to ensuring mission and family readiness, economic security, and quality of life for military families are part of the conversation.  


MOAA members can support DSLO’s efforts by joining their local chapter and urging increased grassroots support for these important quality-of-life issues for the currently serving military community. You can also reach out to your DSLO regional liaison to find additional ways engage with state policy.


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About the Author

Jen Goodale
Jen Goodale

Goodale is MOAA's Director of Government Relations for Military Family and Survivor Policy.