Multi-Component Family Support Network
What is it? The Multi-Component Family Support Network (MCFSN) utilizes current Child and Youth Services’ and Family Programs’ resources and services to ensure all Soldiers and their families receive the services they need, regardless of their active or reserve component status or their geographical location. This will be accomplished in three ways:
- Unit: Train Active Army, Army National Guard, and U.S. Army Reserve service providers on all authorized services and programs available to Soldiers and families by each component.
- Families: Market services to families through the “Purple Box” and the Ten Touch Personal Contact System. The “Purple Box” provides information about resources and services families need, especially during a deployment. The Ten Touch Personal Contact System targets families at critical stages during their military life cycle and provides them with information and resources needed during that particular stage.
- Community: Unify collaboration of military and civilian service providers through an Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee, which are usually established in each state and meet on a quarterly basis to discuss programs, issues, and concerns facing military families in their area.
What has the Army done? The Multi-Component Family Support Network was initially developed by the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center, National Guard Bureau, U.S. Army Reserve, and Installation Management Agency Family Programs staffs, based upon field visits conducted during 2004. In 2005, the pilots tested the delivery of family programs and services using four distinct approaches:
- The Installation Management Agency Southeast Region, led by First Army, implemented a state-based model, which focused on the collaboration of resources within state boundaries.
- The Installation Management Agency Southwest Region, led by the U.S. Army Reserve, implemented a regional approach, based upon area demographics.
- The Installation Management Agency Northwest Region implemented a community-based model, which focused on the development of Inter-Service Family Assistance Committees to leverage both military and civilian resources.
- The Installation Management Agency Pacific Area Regional Office led the Joint service model, which focused on developing networking and assistance between all services in their region, and implemented the model in Hawaii and nearby island.
What was learned? The data from the pilot projects suggested that the MCFSN allowed providers, Soldiers and families a better understanding of services available and enhances networking between service providers of each component/service.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future? During FY07, the focus will be to:
- Include best practices from the pilot programs into the overall concept.
- Leverage personnel and training resources to better support families.
- Develop IMCFSN Training Support Packages.
- Develop a robust and cohesive technology system.
- Market MCSFN to families, units, and the community.
Why is this important to the Army? With quality of life one of the overarching aspects of today's Army, the Army is dedicated to the well-being of its Soldiers, families, and civilian workforce. Future objective of the Multi-Component Family Support Network is to involve all services' Family Programs and Child and Youth Services' resources. Leveraging these resources helps met the demands that today's military has on each service and their families.