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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Fort Leonard Wood’s Child and Youth Services will be hosting a series of focus groups next week to help define issues, concerns and impacts to mission in regards to child care.

According to Tamara Smith, CYS coordinator, topics to be addressed with the focus groups include services provided, priority status and availability, as well as the needs service members currently have or anticipate in the near future, and what obstacles they have seen, met or heard.

“COVID has impacted a lot of the services CYS has been able to offer, and we are interested — as we start to shape the remaining calendar year — in what programs, activities and childcare requirements are needed,” Smith said. “The focus groups will allow us to hear how we can better serve our military families here at Fort Leonard Wood; to hear suggestions of things they would like to see; and, of course, how we can improve and what we are doing right.”

The focus groups are one way to help ensure CYS is continuing to remain aligned with the Army’s highest priority — its people, said Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander.

“Providing accessible, affordable child care programs is one way we demonstrate our commitment to making Fort Leonard Wood an assignment of choice,” Paine said. “Increased quality of life for service members, Families and Department of Defense civilians is directly tied to increased readiness.”

To mitigate COVID-19 exposure, Smith said multiple sessions have been scheduled and attendance is limited to 12 people per session:

  • Personnel from the 14th Military Police Brigade may attend 9 to 11 a.m., 1 to 3 p.m. or 4 to 6 p.m. Monday.
  • Personnel from the 1st Engineer Brigade may attend 9 to 11 a.m., 1 to 3 p.m. or 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Personnel from the 3rd Chemical Brigade may attend 9 to 11 a.m., 1 to 3 p.m. or 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Headquarters and Headquarters Company personnel, and all tenant unit members may attend 9 to 11 a.m., 1 to 3 p.m. or 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 3.
  • Unit leaders — including commanders, command sergeants major and first sergeants — may attend from 9 to 11 a.m. Feb. 4.

Smith said all of the focus groups will be held at the Pershing Community Center.

Anyone who can’t attend one of the sessions and still wants to provide feedback should email Smith at tamara.r.smith10.naf@army.mil, or Monica Johnson, Action Outreach Services director, at monica.johnson6.naf@army.mil.

For more information on CYS programs here, call 573.596.0200.