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FMWR > Army Family Covenant
The Army Family Covenant
The Army Family Covenant was initiated and signed by Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., and Sgt. Maj. Of the Army Kenneth O. Preston this October as part of their pledge to support Soldiers and their Families while they defend the nation. It is part of the Army Soldier-Family Action Plan (ASFAP) t hat will guide Army Leadership in making the Covenant a reality. They are recognizing, in part through this Covenant, that the strength of the soldiers lies in the strength of their families, and that this is an area that has not been given all the attention it has deserved. After all, according to General Creighton Abrams, “People are not in the Army, they are the Army.”
The Army is stepping up during the third longest war in our Nation’s history, behind only the Revolutionary War and
According to Gen. Casey, the Army has not, until this point, treated the Families as the readiness issue that they are, and the Army wants to provide Soldiers and their Families with a level of support commensurate with their service. The Army Family Covenant is in direct support to concerns from Army Families and represents a $1.4 billion commitment in 2008 to improve quality of life for Army families. Army leadership is working to include a similar level in the budget for the next five years. As part of this commitment, the Residential Communities Initiative has completed 20,000 new and renovated on-post homes. By 2010, 97% of all on-post Army Family housing will have been transferred to a private partner, a partnership to change Army Housing into Army homes. The Army is projecting that by the end of 2013, our Soldiers and Families living on-post will be out of housing, and living in high-quality homes in vibrant Army Communities. The Army Family Covenant also includes provisions for standardizing and improving quality of life for Soldiers and Families through existing Family Support programs and through the establishment of new programs, spending $100 million to hire a full-time staff, to expand childcare (the Army will fill 80% of its demand for care by 2009, which is an increase of over 8%), respite care, and youth services (spaces will improve from 20,674 to 47,096 this year). In addition to the increase in space availability for care, initial registration fees have been eliminated and hours for both respite care and extended-duty child care have been extended on many installations. Programs for teens and after-school care, including youth sports, have been established or expanded. It also focuses on issues such as health care (both physical and mental health, with plans to hire as many as 200 mental health care providers to shorten wait times and improve care), education and excellence in schools (for both adults and children), and employment opportunities for families. Additional efforts are being made through outreach programs to provide support to survivors of fallen Soldiers, as well, through the Army’s
Along with this program, there were other new programs introduced, including a new “virtual installation concept” where all Army families would have access to installation services regardless of their location. Also reintegrated was the “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program,” which will bring Activated Soldiers and Families back to the installations 30, 60, and 90 days post deployment to participate in educational programs and to obtain any treatment necessary for reintegration, substance abuse, or mental health issues.
Another support service that is being emphasized through this Covenant is the www.myarmybenefits.us.army.mil website, which provides material about benefits and “benefit facts” pages that are organized by state, life event, and a variety of other areas for easy navigation.
And in keeping with the promise to care for the entire Army Family, the leadership has also created an additional 54 positions to the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) Program, and has added an availability of $10,000 in grants to enhance BOSS Programs at the garrison level.