By Rob McIlvaine, FMWRC Public AffairsJanuary 19, 2011
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The Army Family Action Plan has once again proved invaluable for Soldiers and families.
On Jan. 21, eligible enlisted family members will begin receiving 36 months of Transitional Compensation, the same as officer family members, rather than the average of 22 months of payments they formerly received. The change ensures payments are standardized for all approved applications.
Transitional Compensation is a congressionally-authorized program. The TC benefits help ease the transition from military to civilian life by providing temporary payments and benefits for Families in which a Soldier has been court-martialed or is being administratively separated from the Army because of a dependent-abuse offense such as domestic or child abuse.
The difference in duration of compensation between family members of enlisted and officers was an anomaly of the program, and was based solely on the Soldier's rank.
The current change is a direct result of Army Family Action Plan Issue #540, Duration of Transitional Compensation for Abused Dependents, which surfaced in 2003.
After Army senior leaders reviewed numerous recommendations, queries and cost analysis, a revision to Army Regulation 608-1, Army Community Service Center, became a reality.
The Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command manages the Army's TC Program and began authorizing TC payments in August of 1995. The Army recognizes domestic and child abuse may be an unfortunate symptom of stress on the force that needs to be positively addressed and minimized.
The Installation Management Community focuses on providing standardized, effective family readiness programs and services to ensure Soldiers and families can enjoy a quality of life commensurate with their level of service and sacrifice to the nation.
"Quality programs can greatly improve the well being of Soldiers and families and reduce incidents of abuse," said Lt. Col. Nancy Ruffin, FMWRC Army Family Advocacy Program chief. "Our challenge is to provide awareness and access to the available programs and services."
"The Army and its leadership are working hard to ensure Soldiers and families are prepared and supported before, during and after deployments, and throughout their military careers," Ruffin said. "Nothing is more important than ensuring the well being of our Soldiers and families - our most precious resource."
The Army Family Action Plan, administered by the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, is a year-round program that begins at the installation or unit level. It is the Army's grassroots process to identify and elevate the most significant quality of life issues impacting Soldiers (all components), retirees, DA civilians, and families to senior leaders for action.
The Department of the Army-level AFAP conference is scheduled to run from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, in Northern Virginia to review more than 90 issues elevated from mid-level AFAP conferences. At the end of the conference, the vice chief of staff of the Army, along with the assistant chief of staff for Installation Management, Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch will be briefed on the 16 new issues prioritized by the delegates.
AFAP is the preeminent means for commanders at all levels to learn about and seek solutions for the concerns of their communities. The changes made through the AFAP process - unique in all military branches - foster a satisfied, informed, and resilient Army community.
To date, nearly 700 AFAP issues have resulted in 123 legislative changes, 172 Army and Office of the Secretary of Defense policy changes, and 192 changes to programs and services.
Soldiers, family members, retirees, survivors, wounded warriors and Department of the Army civilians - of all components - have the ability to search the database of active issues, review the status, and learn what is needed for resolution.
"Searching for Active Issues is simple and easy," Shaunya Murrill, FMWRC Family Programs, said.
"Simply visit Army OneSource at https://www.myarmyonesource.com, click on Family Programs and Services, click on Family Programs, and then click on Army Family Action Plan to access this new search application.
"Several filter options are available, allowing a search to be customized. Additionally, if an end-user has a question regarding an active issue, they can pose a question through email and receive a response within 72 hours," Murrill said.
For more information about the Army's Transitional Compensation program please contact the Family Advocacy Program Manager, Victim Witness Liaison, or Victim Advocate at your installation.