Family Readiness Programs
What is it? The Army National Guard (ARNG) values the support and dedication of our families across the country. Family Readiness Programs on the national, state, local, and unit level benefit service members and their families and have a positive impact on Soldier and Family morale and readiness. One of the many ways that Family Readiness Groups help families is to make sure that they learn about the many events, services, and programs available to them. Unlike earlier decades, when families were structured more traditionally, the concept of family has been expanded and redefined to include friends, stepfamilies, employers, communities, and basically anyone who cares about a Soldier.
What has the Army done? Recent activities that affect ARNG families include:
- The Army has provided support in the establishment of National Guard operated Family Assistance Centers. These Centers provide Information, Referral and Outreach to families of geographically dispersed members from all Services whether Active or Reserve Component. (See Forces Command Regulation 500-3-1).
- The National Guard Bureau Family Program Office provides training to families through its Guard Family Team Building Program via Computer Based Training Modules, Centralized Classes, and local training provided. These training courses educate and help make families self reliant throughout the deployment process.
- The Army-Well Being program established the Army Families Online website, a portal for information of interest to families of National Guard Soldiers.
- The Department of Defense (DoD) Military OneSource program provides benefits to all military families (for example, counseling services, resources for parents, assistance with consumer credit, and free access to TurboTax for online tax return preparation).
- The DoD Military HOMEFRONT web portal is a central up-to-date source for Service members and their families to obtain information about Quality of Life programs and services such as childcare, elder care, and programs for resolving domestic abuse or domestic violence problems.
- Operation Purple, sponsored by the National Military Family Association (NMFA) provides one week of free camp to children of deployed Soldiers.
- The DoD Family Readiness Award for the 2005 ARNG Family Readiness Program was awarded to Wisconsin's 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry Brigade Separate (Light).
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future? Family Readiness Groups continue to support the Soldier prior to and after deployment as well as during times of family separation. The ARNG remains committed to support the family of the deployed Soldier throughout the deployment cycle.
Why is this important to the Army? Family readiness is not an option; it is an essential part of our mission. The Army National Guard has identified an absolute need for an aggressive Family Readiness Program, a program that is not merely delegated, but embraced by Commanders at every level. Every Soldier needs a support structure and a network of protection that includes self readiness, within a circle of family readiness, within a circle of unit and community readiness, within the larger enclosures of state and national support.
Click on the following links for the Nation Guard Family Program Online Community , the Guard Family Team Building website, Army Families Online, National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), and the National Military Family Association.