Post leaders reaffirm commitment: Army Family Covenant re-signed at ceremony
Aleah Ball helps son Kaleb, 3, put together a puzzle during playgroup, which is sponsored by the New Parent Support Program. Programs like the playgroup are possible because of the Army Family Covenant.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Just as Army Soldiers swear to defend our nation, our citizens and our rights, Fort Jackson's leaders pledge to take care of Soldiers and their families.

They reaffirmed this commitment by re-signing the Army Family Covenant Monday at the Solomon Center.

"The Army Family Covenant is the Army's commitment to provide Soldiers and their families a quality of life that acknowledges their service, sacrifices and dedication to our nation," said Col. James Love, garrison commander. "Here at Fort Jackson, we have accomplished much and are very proud of all we have done."

"We are committed to furnishing the best care, support and services for Soldiers, civilians and families," Love continued. "The Army Family Covenant is our most visible and meaningful initiative."

Love, Maj. Gen. James Milano, Fort Jackson's commanding general, Post Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Stall and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Culbertson signed the covenant, which promises the Army's support will be commensurate to the sacrifices Soldiers and their families make in their service to the nation.

"Leadership at all levels recognizes that military service is a family commitment and our families, as well as our Soldiers, contribute immeasurably to the readiness and strength of our military," said Carla Atkinson, director of Fort Jackson's Army Community Services. "The (Army Family Covenant) is about the challenges and sacrifices our Army has faced from being a nation at war and helping families build resiliency and balance so they can cope with the tremendous stresses they face in our Army today."

Fort Jackson officials first signed the Army Family Covenant, Nov. 19, 2007. Since then, family programs have received increased funding to expand and create more services for families who live and work on post.

For example, the Fort Jackson Army Community Service (ACS) budget has doubled, resulting in significant improvements in standardizing family programs and offering increased support in helping spouses find employment and identifying their educational needs and resources, Atkinson said.

ACS improved its partnership with Family Readiness Groups by physically co-locating with the installation Family Readiness Support Assistant.

The AFC has provided funding to add staff to Fort Jackson's Exceptional Family Member Program, allowing the program to be more accessible to special needs families and to increase awareness of services available to them on post and throughout the community.

Through the AFC, registration fees were eliminated for all eligible users of Child, Youth and School Services, saving Fort Jackson families $48,600 during the past year. Nearly 30 families are receiving regular respite care totaling $80,000 through AFC funding.

Child care fees were reduced for families of deployed Soldiers. Service hours of post child care facilities were increased. Three buses were purchased through AFC funding, increasing the availability of after school care for families who reside off post. Two child care facilities under construction are due to open in 2011.

New programs created include:

- A new parent support program
- Tthe Strong Beginnings pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds
- A teen apprentice program for youth 15-18
- The EDGE! program that offers after school activities for middle-schoolers
- A wounded warrior sports program
- A spouse sponsorship program for newly arriving drill sergeants' wives
- Survivor Outreach Services for families of fallen Soldiers

AFC funding has helped increase accessibility and quality of health care, including increasing the number of behavioral health providers at Moncrief Army Community Hospital.

"From health care to child care, and libraries to fitness centers, improvements in the quality of life for Soldiers and their families can be seen throughout Fort Jackson," said Theresa O'Hagan, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation marketing specialist. "It's the agencies across Fort Jackson working together that really makes (the Army Family Covenant) work."

Army Family Covenant
We recognize the commitment and increasing sacrifices that our families are making every day.
We recognize the strength of our Soldiers comes from the strength of their families.
We are committed to providing Soldiers and families a quality of life that is commensurate with their service.
We are committed to providing our families a strong, supportive environment where they can thrive.
We are committed to building a partnership with Army families that enhances their strength and resilience.
We are committed to improving family readiness by:
- Standardizing and funding existing family programs and services
- Increasing accessibility and quality of health care
- Improving Soldier and family housing
- Ensuring excellence in schools, youth services, and child care
- Expanding education and employment opportunities for family members

Page last updated Tue November 23rd, 2010 at 08:09