Covenant continues to provide for families
October 20, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- As we approach the fourth anniversary of Fort Jackson's signing of the Army Family Covenant, I ask that we all reflect on how our quality of life continues to get better as a result of this initiative and our Army's efforts to improve upon our family culture.
Fresh in my mind is the ribbon-cutting ceremony that we conducted Wednesday for the opening of two new child care centers on post. The centers, which cost $5 million each to build, provide our cadre with peace of mind at a very reasonable rate and meet a growing demand for child care in our community.
The two centers, which are fully furnished and are complete with playground equipment, will host after-school programs for kindergartners and school-age children. We will continue to meet our families growing needs with another scheduled CDC to be completed in 2012. These centers reflect the spirit and intent of a covenant that puts families at the forefront of our priorities.
Another thing that comes to my mind that reflects the Army's commitment to improving quality of life is the opening of the Moncrief Medical Home in Northeast Columbia this past spring. The home provides a convenient way of delivering health care to active duty family members who reside off post in our neighboring communities.
The concept of the medical home is centered on the patient and family. It's designed to optimize health care delivery through enhanced access, continuity, coordination and quality of care. Each patient is assigned his or her own health care provider and team, who form a relationship with the patient and get to know the patient and his or her health care concerns.
This is another recent example of how the quality of life for Soldiers and families has improved since we committed ourselves by signing our covenant.
As you know, the Army Family Covenant represents a $1.4 billion Army-wide investment in the quality of life for our families. After the initial signing of the document in October 2007, Army leaders at installations around the world gathered to sign the document. Fort Jackson signed the document a month later on Nov. 17 and has been moving briskly forward ever since.
Probably one of the most visible signs of the covenant's effect has been our on-post housing development program. When all of the construction eventually ends next year, more than 600 new homes will have been completed and more than 250 other homes will have been renovated.
The Army Family Covenant provides the thrust for our family programs, physical and mental health care, housing, education, child care and employment opportunities for spouses. The Army recognizes the tremendous sacrifices that our families make every day, and to that end will continue to compensate our Soldiers and families with the means and opportunities to enjoy the quality of life that they deserve.
Since the original signing of the document, Fort Jackson has enjoyed many other gains and improvements in family programs and services.
Registration and re-registration fees for Child, School and Youth Services programs have been completely eliminated.
There have been programs added across the board, increased staffing in family support programs and the development and staffing of a first-rate Family Life and Resiliency Center. There have been enhancements at Army Community Services, as well. Programs such as Exceptional Family Member, Employment Readiness and Financial Readiness have been refined and improved.
All of the improvements on Fort Jackson reinforce the fact that strong families are important to us. As time goes on, we realize more and more that the covenant is much more than a document. It is the foundation that we build successful Army families upon.
Strong families are a readiness issue, and we will remain committed to providing an environment in which they can flourish. Army leaders continue to affirm that although taking care of Soldiers is our No. 1 priority, there is no better way to take care of a Soldier than to support his or her family.
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