By Rob McIlvaineSeptember 15, 2008
ALEXANDRIA, Va. Aca,!" Army Child and Youth Services will now be Army Child, Youth & School Services. The Army is renaming this key Family and MWR Program because of the renewed focus at every level to support the schools serving our Army children.
"Often," said M.A. Lucas, director of Child, Youth & School Services, "a teacher looks out at the class and sees his or her students behaving normally, but there might be one child in his class whose life has just turned upside down."
As a result of the impacts on the military-connected students caused by the stresses of deployment and troop movements, she says, more emphasis is being placed on support services to parents, guidance counselors, principals and teachers.
"This is a tangible sign of delivering on the promise [of the Family Covenant] for active, Guard and Reserve Soldiers and their Families," said Lucas. "Some schools have many military children and understand the pressures they face, but other schools only have a few military students in their classes. This is why we advocate for school liaisons to help school officials and parents help military youth make the transition."
The reflagging of Army Child and Youth Services to Army Child, Youth & School Services will need to be phased in across the Army. This is an important reminder to parents and students that the Army recognizes the challenges youth face and is actively addressing these issues.
Recently distributed training or promotional materials still will reflect the previous name. As new material is developed and published, the required changes will be made. Commensurate with this emphasis on school support initiatives, garrison commanders will want to introduce parents to the fact that new responsibilities reside in the schools function of CYS Services at the garrison.
The scope of what is to be incorporated as part of the expanded mission (i.e., enhanced school liaison and transition actions) currently is under development as part of a comprehensive Installation Management Command School Support Strategy.
"Although each school's standards vary," Lucas said, "as the Army transforms to an Expeditionary Force during this time of persistent conflict, teachers need to know that children will suddenly have to take time off to either say goodbye to their father or mother or welcome them home after a year or two overseas. In between, the wait can be stressful."
The Army, through CYS Services, will do all it can to mitigate those stressors and help our children cope through close cooperation with the school systems.