SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - With the signing of the Army Family Covenant (AFC) last November, Soldiers and family members have seen increased benefits and programs over the past year.

Recently, the Army Family Covenant provided funding to Army Community Service (ACS) to increase and instate new positions to better serve Soldiers and families. ACS has been working hard, expediting new hires to find qualified people to serve the Army community.

"The funding ACS received from the covenant allowed us to maintain a high standard by providing the manpower to support our programs," said Nancy Piper, chief, ACS. "It has raised the number of clients we serve ... the additional staffing has made a huge difference."

The funding received from the Army Family Covenant allowed ACS to hire four full-time contractors to fill the gap in existing programs, as well as four additional contractors for the New Parent Support Program.

"With the high number of deployments, we see a large number of single parents," said Piper. "We are now able to reach out to the community and aid more family members than before."

The Department of Defense has contracted subject matter experts from leading universities across the country to research the impact of deployment and separation on Soldiers and families. ACS is prepared to deliver the results of that research through training in a variety of forums to best meet the needs of Soldiers and family members, including the Ready 4 Deployment classes and briefings that prepare Soldiers and families for deployment.

The Family Advocacy Program (FAP) recently hired five victim program specialists. The specialists are assigned to a variety of program areas and address all levels of mobilization and deployment.

Other programs including Army Emergency Relief, Exceptional Family Member Program, Employment Readiness Program and Relocation Readiness Program, all focus on mission readiness through a variety of educational and support services.

"We provide a lot of opportunities to strengthen service and deliver more outreach with unit commanders, family readiness groups and family members," said Cole Weeks, Family Advocacy Program manager, ACS.

New programs, including baby massage, Blue Star baby and the Keiki Wellness In Communities (KWIC) partnership also aid family members by creating support within the community.

ACS is committed to assisting commanders in maintaining readiness of individuals, families and communities within the Army by developing, coordinating and delivering services that promote self-reliance, resiliency and stability during war and peace.

<i>Editor's Note: This article was run in a special insert of the Hawaii Army Weekly, the post newspaper for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, in honor of the one year anniversary of the signing of the Army Family Covenant. To view the entire insert, visit <a href="www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/sites/commander/armyfamily.asp">www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/sites/commander/armyfamily.asp</a>.</i>

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16