AFAP addresses Army families' needs, concerns
April 29, 2010
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Army families that have issues have an avenue at hand for resolving them through the Army Family Action Plan program.
The AFAP program was created in 1983 with the advent of the first AFAP Planning Conference.
In 1984, during the Year of the Army Family, the first AFAP was published as a program to help the Army address the needs and concerns of its families. Its creation helped the Army recognize the importance of Army families today.
AFAP allows every sector of the military to have a voice in raising quality well-being concerns to leadership. Some issues are dealt with at the local level while others are forwarded to higher commands for resolution.
AFAP is a vehicle for providing input from the people of the Army to Army leadership. It's a process that lets Soldiers and families say what's working, what isn't and what they think will fix it.
It alerts commanders and Army leaders to areas of concern that need their attention and gives them the opportunity to put plans quickly into place to work toward resolving the issues.
Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli told last January's AFAP conference that the Army continues to focus on strengthening Soldiers and families to meet the challenges of a long war with repeated deployments.
"The 'big idea' is that we want to move from treating medical and behavioral issues after the fact to where we are assessing potential issues and building Soldier and family resilience," said Chiarelli.
At the same conference, Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of Installation Management Command, also spoke about the Army Family Covenant, which the Army unveiled in 2007 to institutionalize the Army's commitment to providing Soldiers and families - active, guard and reserve - a quality of life "commensurate with their quality of service."
"We are delivering the Army Family Covenant with a focus on five specific areas," said the general.
"Standardization and funding of existing programs and services; increasing accessibility and quality of health care; improving Soldier and family housing; ensuring excellence in schools, youth services and child care; and expanding education and employment opportunities for family members."
At an April meeting, Lynch attended, 15 specific issues were addressed. He said it appeared two-thirds could be closed.
He emphasized that the AFAP program was a great forum to raise issues that can be resolved at a lower level and to forward to the appropriate higher level those that can't be resolved at a lower level.
Army family members are encouraged to contact their unit's Family Readiness Support Assistant with their needs and concerns so that the AFAP program can address them.