By Bill Mossman, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsMay 24, 2010
In part two of a four-part series, work groups state actions on teen jobs, ASUs and more
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii leadership plans to tackle more than 15 quality of life issues to emerge from the 2010 Army Family Action Plan conference, including a strategy to better assist families with disabled children and a plan to provide residents with shuttle service to and from Army medical centers, early next month.
Delegates and subject matter experts will address the issues with Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, USAG-HI, when they convene for the Garrison Commander's AFAP Steering Committee Meeting, June 7, at the Garrison Conference Room, here.
According to Tracey Clark, volunteer corps coordinator, Army Community Service, and moderator for the March 18-19 AFAP conference, the upcoming meeting is required by Army regulations 608-47 and 608-1.
"Biannually, the garrison commander must review active AFAP issues and discuss the disposition of those issues," explained Clark.
She added that committee members will then give each topic a status reading of active (an issue is still being worked on for resolution), closed (issue resolution has been completed) and unobtainable (an issue could not be resolved because outcomes could not be reached).
In addition to delegates and SMEs, Clark said the steering committee also includes members from such support agencies as the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, 125th Finance, and the Tripler and Schofield Barracks health clinics.
The May 14 Hawaii Army Weekly published the first four issues committee members plan to address at next month's meeting. This week, in the second of a four-part series, the HAW looks at four additional issues previously raised at this year's AFAP, and the action plan the garrison is currently pursuing to deal with each issue.
Issue 5: Plan for families with disabled children.
SME Agency: Directorate, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, ACS.
Scope: Currently, there is no centralized coordinating agency for exceptional family members to learn about existing programs for disabled children. Access to care is limited and mission readiness may be affected.
Issue 5 Conference Recommendations: During a Soldier's in-processing, EFMs should be assigned a case manager in conjunction with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and Tricare enrollment.
Case managers should focus on providing assistance and coordination for both special and routine needs.
Finally, the development of a case management plan in coordination with family, school and other necessary agencies would be helpful.
Current Action Plan: Last October, President Barack Obama signed into law the EFM program section of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The law establishes the Office of Community Support for Military Families with Special Needs (medical and educational) to improve Department of Defense support of military families with special needs.
The fully funded law will enable case managers to provide, among other things, individualized support for military families with special needs, to identify gaps in services and to monitor the availability and accessibility of programs provided by other federal, state, local and nongovernmental agencies.
Also, Brig. Gen. Stephen Jones, commander, Pacific Region Medical Command and Tripler Army Medical Center, has approved the hiring of four case managers to assist with EFMs for FY 2010.
Issue 6: Shuttle service to and from medical centers.
SME Agency: Directorate of Logistics/TAMC.
Scope: Medical beneficiaries can't make medical appointments due to transportation issues, including, but not limited to, the lack of a car which increases the no-show percentage of missed appointments. This situation also decreases the number of available appointments for all medical beneficiaries, and it may also impact service members' mission or training.
Issue 6 Conference Recommendation: Establish and implement a routine shuttle service route to and from medical facilities, from military bases and housing throughout Oahu.
Current Action Plan: Hold a joint meeting with DOL and TAMC to talk about further options.
The AFAP Steering Committee has already discussed developing a shuttle system. However, first, a survey might be implemented to see if there is a need for such a service in the community.
Issue 7: Teen jobs on post.
SME Agency: DFMWR, ACS.
Scope: Teens have limited opportunities to obtain regular jobs on-post. Many places do not employ teenagers under the age of 18, making it difficult for them to earn on-the-job experience and money.
Issue 7 Conference Recommendations: Develop a list of employers who are looking to hire teens. Initiate a job resource website geared specifically for teens. Publish resources for teen jobs.
Current Action Plan: The Employment Readiness Program, or ERP, at ACS, will assist and provide resources to teens seeking employment.
Yolanda Johnson, ERP program manager, will begin to contact on-post agencies to develop a list of teen-friendly employers.
Issue 8: Financial hardship due to Army Service Uniform (also known as "Blue About the ASU").
SME Agency: Directorate of Human Resources.
Scope: Army policy states that every required item for a Soldier is issued. However, there isn't a mechanism in place to cover the increased cost of the ASU, which is required by 2014.
This policy impacts those service members who've served prior to July 2010. The elevated expense of the ASU will exceed the Soldiers' standard clothing allowance and possibly cause financial hardship.
Issue 8 Conference Recommendations: The Army provide an initial issue of one ASU, insignia and alterations to each Soldier and authorize a one-time stipend to include the purchase of the ASU, insignia and alterations. Reimburse Soldiers who have already purchased the ASU.
Current Action Plan: This issue was forwarded to the 2010 U.S. Army-Pacific Conference.
The issue was not briefed out and will be returned to USAG-HI for review.