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Army Community Service (ACS) Family Readiness Programs

What is it?
The Army’s current deployment posture has stretched the resources of rear detachments and Family Readiness Group (FRG) leaders. The Family Readiness Support Assistants (FRSAs) provide administrative and logistical support to volunteer FRG leaders, (e.g., maintaining telephone trees, family data cards, scheduling speakers for FRG meetings, etc.), which allow the FRG leaders to concentrate their efforts in assisting Families.

What has the Army done?
Rear Detachment Commander (RDC)/FRG Leader Online Training Courses ensure RDC and FRG leaders have the guidance and support needed to be effective in their positions by providing them with the most relevant information and training.

The Virtual Family Readiness Group (vFRG) web system provides all of the functionality of a traditional FRG in an ad hoc online setting to meet the needs of geographically dispersed units and Families across all components of the Army. The unit’s vFRG links the Soldier, Family, FRG leader, unit and RDCs, and other Family readiness personnel on a controlled access web portal to facilitate the exchange of information and provide a sense of community. The unit commander is responsible for maintaining the VFRG content and user access.

Operation Resources for Educating About Deployment and You (Operation READY) serves as a valuable training tool for Army Community Service (ACS), Army Reserve, and National Guard Family Program staff. The materials provide Soldiers, Civilians and Family members an understanding of the variety of deployment resources available.

The Military Family Life Consultants (MFLC) work directly with ACS, National Guard Headquarters, and Reserve Regional Commands to provide deployment and reintegration support to Soldiers and their Families. The flexibility of the program allows the Army to deploy and redeploy MFLCs where and when they are needed to meet surges throughout the deployment cycle and other emergent needs.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Improving the coping mechanisms for Soldiers and their Families is the focus of ongoing efforts. Operation READY includes training modules and resource books especially designed to help Soldiers, their Families, and Civilians, cope with the personal, Family, and financial demands of deployment. The goal of the MFLC initiative is to prevent Family distress by providing education and information on Family dynamics, parent education, and available support services, in order to decrease the effects of stress through positive coping mechanisms.

Why is this important to the Army?
After eight years of persistent conflict, our Soldiers and their Families have stretched resources. Maintaining the readiness of our force entails maintaining the readiness of Families as well as Soldiers. Family Readiness Programs provide vital support to RDCs and to Family members throughout the deployment cycle and are necessary to meet the complex demands that deployment entails.

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