Family Advocacy Program
What is it?
The primary purpose of the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) is to prevent spouse and child abuse and neglect, provide safety for victims of abuse, and work with commanders to hold offenders accountable. The Army is committed to preventing spouse and child abuse and neglect by providing a range of essential services to strengthen Soldiers and their Families so as to ensure their resiliency. The goal is supported by a system that allows the identification of abuse as early as possible, timely reporting and intervention, and rehabilitation and treatment. Army Community Service (ACS) is the agency designated to manage the FAP, and the ACS Family Advocacy Program Manager (FAPM) is the installation coordinator for the program.
What has the Army done?
The Army has victim advocate services at all of its installations. Victim advocacy is an integral part of the Army’s FAP. This program was established to be an active voice in the community on behalf of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Its purpose is to enhance individual safety, to preserve integrity and autonomy, and to provide support and information throughout the investigation and case review processes.
The Army has many research-based prevention programs to assist Soldiers and Families. One of the major programs is the New Parent Support Program (NPSP), which provides secondary prevention and intervention services to high-risk Families with children in the prenatal stage to age three. The NPSP home visitation is designed to improve parenting and coping skills and enhanced personal management skills. Entry may be through self-referrals; referrals from health care professionals, the FAP, or command; or clinical assessment by a health care provider (nurse or social worker). Each NPSP site has a team consisting of licensed social workers and nurses who supplement existing programs. The team members address the entire gamut of parenting issues and concerns.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army is in the process of developing a five-year Strategic FAP Plan designed to strengthen Soldiers’ and Families’ efforts in dealing with the stress of deployments. Other initiatives include the fielding of a Prevention Program Guide, which will enable installation FAPMs to design a comprehensive prevention program tailored to the needs of their installation, consistent with regulatory and accreditation requirements, and grounded in evidence-based research. This guide, to be available on CD-ROM, is an interactive program that will allow the FAPM to choose the appropriate prevention programs on the basis of installation demographics and risk factors. Continued efforts also include the fielding of a Victim Advocate Training Package to assist installations with the implementation of Department of Defense Restricted Reporting requirements for victims of domestic violence.
As a result of the Army’s Fatality Review process, the Army will be revising its instructions on safe sleeping, bath safety, and shaken-baby avoidance for all new parents, and integrating co-occurrence data on child abuse, spouse abuse, and substance abuse into the Family Advocacy Staff Training courses.
Why is this important to the Army?
The FAP contributes to force readiness and mission accomplishment by providing a resource for Commanders and Families to use for the prevention and treatment of Family violence. With quality of life as one of its overarching goals, today’s Army is dedicated to ensuring that Soldiers and their Families have ample opportunities for assistance with interpersonal and Family issues. The FAP also supports the Army’s retention efforts by ensuring that Soldiers and their Families are better able to effectively address the demands the Army places on them.
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