Family Advocacy Program offers range of services for Soldiers and families

WIESBADEN, Germany - Staff Sgt. Eney Dough is stuck in a tough assignment where he's worked 65 hours a week since he arrived six months ago. His unit is preparing for a deployment that will separate him from his family once again for a year after returning from a previous deployment only 14 months earlier.

Coupled with the stresses of the job, he also has to make provisions for a pregnant wife of five years, two toddlers and a troubled teenager from his wife's first marriage.

Turmoil at home and work has Dough on the edge, as he has been holding in much of his frustrations.
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While the familiar scenario could end negatively, one garrison resource is available to Soldiers and families to lessen the strain many handle on a daily basis.
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The Army Family Advocacy Program provides a variety of services to Soldiers and families to enhance relationship skills and improve quality of life.
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"If you are about to snap or have forgotten how to deal with your kids or handle situations, you can come see us," said Hellen Fakolujo, Family Advocacy Program assistant, who said the program is dedicated to the prevention of spousal and child abuse through education, prompt reporting, investigation, intervention and treatment through Social Work Services. "We're here to teach people and provide services that will alleviate the cause of child abuse and spouse abuse."
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Administrators seek to dispel the mistaken belief that the program only functions as one that intervenes to remove children from homes or separate spouses in matters of domestic violence in hopes of presenting it as a more dynamic program focused on prevention, protection, support and awareness.
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"All people know is that we take kids away. But that's not always the case. We want to offer help before it gets to that point," said Fakolujo. "We are here as a resource. We are here to strengthen families, not to break them."
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Though the program is well-known for its functions as an advocacy and intervention program in matters of domestic violence, the comprehensive program offers the following additional services to aid Soldiers and family members:
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Sexual Assault Response Program focuses on eliminating incidents of sexual assault through a program that centers on prevention through awareness, training and education, reporting response, victim advocacy and accountability.
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Emergency Placement Care is a voluntary or court-mandated service where an EPC provider gives 24-hour care for children who cannot be cared for by their natural families or legal guardians.
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New Parent Support provides a combination of services before and after a child's birth. The offerings include intensive home visiting, parenting education, support groups, lactation support, grief support due to miscarriage, teen pregnancy support and education, supervised playgroups and information and referrals.
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Additionally, the FAP offers the following resources to aid Soldiers and family members: stress and anger management class; couples communication class; a guide to discipline seminar; and respite care.
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And though the name may lead one to believe it only caters to the needs of families, single Soldiers are welcomed to take advantage of the program's offerings.
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"Single Soldiers have families too," said Fakolujo, who said that distance does not erase the issues Soldiers deal with regarding family members in other locations. "They have families back home that they talk to, and they deal with a variety of issues related to their families back home."

Page last updated Thu September 2nd, 2010 at 10:41