ARNG Family Assistance Centers
What is it?
The Army National Guard within each state, territory, and the District of Columbia coordinates Family assistance for all military dependents within each respective location under the guidance of a State Family Program Director (SFPD). The ARNG met the requirement for 325 Family Assistance Centers (FACs) across the 54 States and Territories in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007. The FACs are strategically placed in each state and territory to overcome the geographic dispersion of both Active Army and Reserve Component Families from centralized, installation-based service providers. From this baseline the ARNG can surge and relocate capacity and capability where needed. Most FACs are staffed with contractor personnel and may be augmented with military, state employees, temporary technicians, or volunteers.
What has the Army done?
As of November 2007, 325 FACs are operational in all 50 States and 4 Territories. The cost to operate the centers in FY08 is $36.6 million, of which $27.1 million was required for contracted personnel salaries, travel, and training. Operational support costs are about $2.3 million and $7.2 million funded the Strong Bonds (Marriage Enrichment) program.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Maintain and sustain the 325 FACs that play a vital role in support to the Families of deployed Guard and Reserve service members as well as geographically dispersed Active Army Families. These centers are critical to the mobilization cycle and to the long-term health and welfare of the service members and their Families. The FACs exist to provide information, referral, and outreach for the service member and Family. This broad spectrum type of support includes a utility abatement program in Utah that saves Families over $60 per month in water, sewage, and garbage bills and an organized wheat harvest in one small Nebraska community to assist the Family of a Soldier on duty in Iraq. FACs further conduct Strong Bond events and the Yellow Ribbon program which provide support throughout all phases of mobilization/reintegration.
Why is this important to the Army?
FACs provide a comfortable and friendly one-stop environment for service members and Families to seek information and assistance. In New Jersey for instance, the local FAC coordinated community and financial assistance for a Soldier whose home was destroyed by fire one week prior to his Afghanistan deployment. Within five days of the disaster, the FAC’s efforts procured the family a new furnished home with donations from many local businesses to help them restock and rebuild. The Family Assistance Center allows the service member to concentrate on the mission at hand knowing that his or her Family is supported at home. “It’s gonna be easier for me to leave and do what I got to do because I know my family is feeling a lot better about things,” said the New Jersey Guardsmen.
Web site: http://www.guardfamily.org/