Family Readiness Groups and Special Initiative: The vFRG
What is it? Family Readiness Groups (FRG) function as a communications mechanism, bringing facts to the families from command, and serving as an informal chain of concern to bring issues back up to command. They are integral to the morale and support of Soldiers and families before, during and after deployments. It is structured based on the needs of the unit; some FRGs are large, very active and all encompassing to include parents, friends and significant others in their information chain while others are small and tailored only to the immediate requirements of a non-deployed unit.
A new system, the Virtual Family Readiness Group (vFRG) web system, provides all of the functionality of a traditional FRG in an ad-hoc and on-line setting to meet the needs of geographically dispersed units and families. Unlike FRGs that are located with the unit, the vFRG links the deployed Soldier, their family, the FRG leader, the unit commander, the rear detachment, and other family readiness personnel on their own controlled access web portal to facilitate the exchange of information and provide a sense of community, using technology to automate manual processes and provide enhanced services and communications.
What has the Army done? Over 1100 vFRGs are established linking Families on the homefront to those forward deployed. The Army has limited development of vFRG sites to units at the Battalion-level and higher in an effort to serve the most Soldiers and families across the Active, Guard and Reserve. Waivers are available for separate companies and other non-Battalion units with special needs.
What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future? The vFRG is being redesigned to address feedback from users and administrators and improve end user experience. Marketing of these resources to commanders and families is an integral part of the way ahead.
Why is this important to the Army? Family Readiness Groups are critical to maintaining the strength, morale and information chain for Soldiers, families and Command. Elements such as the vFRG program have proven to be overwhelming successes as additional information sources directed to family members of Soldiers within the command. FRGs leverage command and families; vFRG leverages technology for providing up-to-date information and connecting families and commands.
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