<![CDATA[Recruiter Journal - The Family Corner]]>Tue, 22 Dec 2015 11:07:57 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Family Forum Hangout: Follow-up]]>Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:19:09 GMThttp://www.therecruiterjournal.com/the-family-corner/family-forum-hangout-follow-upLast week, we hosted our first Family Forum Google+ Hangout which allowed us to answer a lot of great questions. You can view the hangout, in its entirety, below. Also, below the video, you will see answers to the questions that we didn't have the opportunity to get to within the allotted time.

Below all of the questions and answers from the town hall, you will find the USAREC Family Programs video that was referenced during the hangout. Please let us know what you think of both the hangout and the Family Programs video, we would greatly appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

Additional Questions & Answers

What can we do if we do not have an active SFA to get information about programs and resources?

Several things can be done; you can use the USAREC BDE SFA Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) to submit your concerns, and the SFA must answer all ICS submissions within 48 hours. You can contact SFAB at HQ USAREC 502-626-0735, or you can use the CG hotline to submit a concern

Based on the budget cuts impacting the Army on all levels, what will be the future for family programs and services be?

Based on the establishment of many 1-N priority lists that were vetted with commands over the last couple of years, the ACSIM and IMCOM established the attached Bin Chart showing program priorities.  The CSA approved the chart. It is anticipated that at some point these priorities may be used to determine which programs to fund/staff given reduced resources and that senior and garrison commanders could, use this as a tool based upon the needs assessment in their AOR.  For example garrison priorities may be different than USAREC.

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As it currently stands no Family Programs have been discontinued.  We have however, experience reductions in funding and authorizations for staff across the Army which impacts service delivery. 

Is it possible to base the childcare costs on the more immediate area in which the family resides, rather than the "nearest" Army post? Can we use the nearest military post?

The Military Child Care Act of 1989, codified in Section 568 of the NDAA for 1996, requires DoD to establish DoD-wide Child Care Fees based on Total Family Income (TFI).  The Congressional intent is for Families to pay a share of their work-related child care expenses and DoD to provide fee assistance to lower the cost of care for all Families.

The DoD SY13-14 Child and Youth Fee Policy continue the DoD transition of all Military Services to standard child care fees for each TFI category. Completion is expected by SY15-16. As per the SY13-14 Fee Policy, all Garrisons are placed into either a STANDARD Cost Fee Structure or a HIGH Cost Fee Structure (see attached).

By law, military child care fees are based on TFI, not military rank or civilian grade. The Military Services subsidize fees on a sliding scale for every Family regardless of rank/grade or income.

What is Army Fee Assistance? 

It is the Army's contribution toward the total cost of child care for Army Families.  In on post programs, Army Fee Assistance supplements Parent Fees to cover the actual cost of care.

In Community Based programs (OMCC & MCCYN), Army Fee Assistance buys down the higher cost of off post care allowing eligible Families to pay parent fees based on those charged at Army installations and to pay fees generally comparable to those charged at the nearest Army installation. 

Parent Fees: 

Fees for Families using OMCC and MCCYN programs are based on TFI, hours of work/school attendance, child care requirements, geographic location, OMCC/MCCYN provider rates, and parent fees at the nearest Army or Army supported Joint Base installation. 

Supporting documents are collected by Army Fee Assistance Administrators who calculate both the parent fee and the amount of Fee Assistance.  Parents and OMCC/MCCYN providers receive written notification from Army Fee Assistance Administrators informing them of the amount of the parent fee, Fee Assistance amount to be paid to the provider, and the effective dates for each child to receive Fee Assistance. 

Parent fees are higher than the installation fees when OMCC or MCCYN provider rates exceed the local market rate (what is reasonable for the local area) due to Army limits on Fee Assistance. 

How are child care fees determined?

DoD established nine TFI Categories and fees/fee ranges for each category. Parent fees are based on their TFI Category.

Fee reductions/discounts available to non-military children by OMCC and MCCYN providers, e.g., early payment discounts, Multiple Child Reductions (MCRs), vacation credits, are also available to military children.  All available provider reductions/discounts must be included before any additional Fee Assistance is calculated.

Is it possible for USAREC to provide a list of FRG fundraisers that are legal and USAREC-specific?

Yes, many of the BN SFAs have created BN FRG guidance.  USAREC has also disseminated a FRG Company Commander's guide for FRG operations.  USAREC SFAB will have the BN SFAs submit suggestions and we will compile all Fundraising ideas into one file and submit them through the BN SFAs to FRG Leaders.  NOTE: Fundraising is needed to allow FRGs to provide food for their unofficial functions.  It allows them to purchase farewell gifts for members PCSing, and baby gifts for members with newborns.  Fundraising is not the sole purpose of FRGs, however, it enhances overall FRG support.  Also, all members must vote on what FRG informal funds can be used for.

Where and how can a spouse get resources if there is no active Bn FRG in place?

Only FRGs are authorized to fundraise in accordance with AR 608-1, Appendix J.  FRGs must follow all regulatory guidance to fund raise and the FRG Volunteers must follow all AR 608.1 Appendix J guidance tob e allocated FRG authorized appropriated funds or reimbursement of incidental costs as a sanctioned and official volunteer.  

Will the marriage retreat schedules ever be released with more details and in advance to accommodate families better?

The RCTG BDE UMTs are able to release details such as hotel address, childcare availability, trainer, menu items, and conference room accommodation as soon as a contract is set which usually happens at the beginning of each new quarter in the fiscal year.  Since the OCCHs validates these events on a quarterly basis, no change is expected to the process at this time.  Every unit validates their Strong Bond event request during the previous quarter.  The Office of the Chief of Chaplains approves or disapproves the SB events about 1-2 weeks prior to each new quarter and all units get that information.  At that time the RCTG BDE UMTs start working with PSA contractors to secure a central location for the unit to host a SB event, and with the battalion personnel and the BN SFA to get a SB registration list.  UMTs usually have their unit registration list complete 2 weeks prior to an event.  UMTs can communicate the event type (Singles, Married & Family), the hotel address and website link, childcare availability, menu items, the training agenda, and who the trainer will be after the contract is set.  Please let the RCTG BDE UMT know when a Soldier or spouse requests additional details.  They will gladly accommodate.

Why when preparing the budget for the fiscal yr child care for ATC isn't included? If it is why don't we have it?

Child Care cannot be paid for with appropriated funds. Policy is Soldiers and Families are responsible for paying their own child care costs for such military specific events.  In 2010, and prior, USAREC was allowing child care to be paid using the Self Sufficiency Exemption (SSE) Non Appropriated Funds, provided to USAREC specifically for volunteer programs.  IMCOM stated USAREC needed to stop this practice because it was in violation of financial management regulations and was unauthorized per regulation.  USAREC spouse working group created an ATC guide which includes options for providing child care at ATCs.  All SFAs can provide a copy of the ATC guide to their Family members.

Why aren't all battalions doing the same thing? ATCs are different for example: We haven't had one that includes families in 3 year?
And to piggy back on the ATC: Why aren't they planned better. We've had our cancelled then rescheduled. It was my understanding the training schedule should be a month in advance.
Annual Training Conferences are programmed to allow the Commander to provide training and information annually and in person to his/her Soldiers.  Based on this need, it is up to the BN Commander how he formats his ATC.  This is why not every Command can be alike, the agenda is based on the Cdrs needs for his Soldiers.    SFAB encourages Commanders to hold Spouse trainings at ATCs; however, in some cases the cost is difficult for some Families to pay for child care, etc Spouses can stay in the hotel room with their Soldier and ride in the POV with their Soldiers; however, last round of ATCs, some commands had their POVs full of Soldiers going to ATCS, to cut down on mileage costs.

As stated in the 1st BDE answer reference ATCS:   ATCs are subject to receiving a conference approval from TRADOC.  This could cause delays in planning the ATCs.  Would need specifics from the individual commands on why their ATCs we’re delayed to truly evaluate the reasons and a fix.  I do know some approvals from TRADOC were received very late during this last year’s round of ATCs, and no actions can be taken by the Command to coordinate for travel, etc, until the CDR receives the approval thru G3 channels.

family Programs Video

It is my pleaesure to unveil to you the new USAREC family programs overview video at the following link: http://youtu.be/UYWYS-PuYPY.

This video provides an overview of the family programs and services within

USAREC, to ensure our newcomers know there is quality of life (QOL) support within the geo-dispersed locations where they live and work.  I encourage all of you to share the link with friends, co-workers, FRGs, and commanders, and encourage all of them to share this information with their newly assigned Soldiers and families. Encourage them to reach out to their battalion SFA and to access the Family Strong Resource Guide on the USAREC SFAB website link: http://www.usarec.army.mil/hq/hrd/sfa/index.shtml.   

Together, we can ensure all of our newly assigned recruiters and their families have the quality of life tools, resource information and support they need to remain strong and even thrive as they embark on an exciting and rewarding assignment within USAREC.  Thank you!

Thanks Terri!

<![CDATA[Volunteer; Worth Their Weight in Gold]]>Mon, 23 Jun 2014 17:03:57 GMThttp://www.therecruiterjournal.com/the-family-corner/volunteer-worth-their-weight-in-goldPicture
Volunteers; Worth Their Weight in Gold

Volunteers are golden - they are quite simply, priceless. They are the ones who coordinate the gatherings of families and Soldiers, extend care to others in the unit, and make every one feel welcome and a part of the unit. When volunteers are involved in making the unit more cohesive, they add a special touch to the command.

Right now we have numerous volunteers -spouses, Soldiers and teens - who give generously of their time at every level in the unit and command, in family programs and in the community, working in a myriad of charitable organizations to include, schools, churches, the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.

I want to thank all our volunteers for the outstanding work you do, for showing that you care and for giving of yourself to others.  It makes a difference, and you make the unit a better place with your time and efforts.

  I also want to encourage others who’ve not been able to fit volunteer work into their busy schedules to make a special effort to do so, to volunteer in whatever capacity you can and give whatever time you can.

Volunteering in the unit is a way to meet other people that are in the recruiting world with you and your spouse.  It can be very rewarding to share with your fellow spouses and to learn from each other.  It is also a great way to integrate into the community in which you are living, making you more connected and informed.

Volunteering can also help adults and teens gain valuable marketable skills and experience that can be used on a job application that can aid in finding employment. High school juniors and seniors can add such experience to their college applications.

When an SFA or commander needs help, volunteers can be the ready resource to help.  Volunteers come from all different walks of life and can add a wealth of knowledge and skills which impact the quality of life for all Soldiers and family members.

The battalion SFAs act as the USAREC Army volunteer corps coordinators (AVCC) and are the centralized location for all information regarding the non-paid family program volunteer professionals. Through the Army volunteer information management system (VMIS), volunteer hours are tracked to ensure work experience is being credited for future paid positions.

USAREC SFAs offers several opportunities to volunteer in one of the SFA program areas to include, the Army Family Action Plan and Army Family Team Building. Family volunteers can also volunteer for their command’s Family Readiness Group’s (FRG) vacant positions. 

Installation Management Command (IMCOM) provides USAREC with self sufficiency non appropriated funds to reimburse a portion of the SFA family program volunteer’s incidental cost, such as child care and mileage for their POV.  The commanders can also reimburse a portion of their Family Readiness Group volunteer’s incidental costs using their budgeted mission funds.  This ensures the volunteers do not spend their own money in the course of providing volunteer services, which is critical due to the USAREC geo-dispersed population. 

Volunteers are recognized for their valuable service throughout the year with ceremonies, certificates, luncheons, receptions, and special achievement awards. The AVCC office is the proponent for all volunteer awards within the unit.

Volunteers with at least 250 hours of service are recognized with the USAREC Silver Volunteer Award and volunteers with at least 500 hours or more of service are given the USAREC Gold Volunteer Award. Volunteers are nominated for these awards by their commands through the battalion SFA. 

Please contact your battalion SFA for more information on volunteering as a family program volunteer or commander’s FRG volunteer. 

Soldiers providing volunteer service have the opportunity to gain promotion points through the Soldier Incentive Program.

<![CDATA[MyICP Website launched for spouse career planning]]>Fri, 28 Mar 2014 18:33:09 GMThttp://www.therecruiterjournal.com/the-family-corner/myicp-website-launched-for-spouse-career-planning I have been listening to your input on quality of life issues and the resources and information you would like to receive. One of the top requests is information on spouse employment resources.  

Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program has launched a new education and career guide for military spouses worldwide. The site contains customized tools, resources, and activities to assist spouses in meeting their education and career goals. A virtual career counselor guides the person in creating a self-service career plan using the MyICP Wizard or a customized career plan with the help of a certified SECO career counselor.

Eligible spouses create a MySECO account here to access the website and the MyICP Wizard.

Users can create one or multiple individual career plans by inputting spouse type, occupation choice, and challenges and growth opportunities. The ICP is created with the information collected. The ICP is then accessible from anywhere on the MySECO site selecting the “MyICP home” button.

A progress bar (MyICP progress widget) located at the top of the ICP gives the spouse a count of how many activities there are to complete, how many activities the user skipped, and how many activities the user completed.

Activities include the Myers Briggs personality assessment, SECO scholarship opportunities, and a list of military spouse employment partners hiring in specific career fields.

Spouses have the option of contacting a certified SECO career counselor to discuss their ICP or to answer career and education questions by calling (800) 342-9647.

Military OneSource has an interesting newsletter that I believe will be of interest to spouses as well. Since its launch in 2011, Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) has posted more than 1 million jobs and hired more than 50,000 military spouses.

To access this website and newsletter, click here.

Please share this information with others, especially any new spouses coming into our U.S. Army Recruiting Command family.
<![CDATA[Child care options for recruiting families]]>Wed, 05 Mar 2014 20:01:43 GMThttp://www.therecruiterjournal.com/the-family-corner/child-care-options-for-recruiting-families I want to thank all our senior spouse leaders for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend the Annual Leaders Training Conference (ALTC) at Fort Knox, Ky., the last week of February. They brought some good discussion to the table and a lot of good ideas concerning family issues, many of which I hope to share and expand on in future columns. This week, I want to make sure all of our geo-dispersed families are aware of all the resources available to them when it comes to child care.

Here are several programs available to Army recruiting families to help parents locate quality child care providers in their communities and help pay for those costs.

Operation: Military Child Care (OMCC)

This is a Department of Defense initiative created to meet the child care needs of military parents who are mobilized or deployed in support of Overseas Contingency Operations but is also available to Army recruiters.

Through OMCC, eligible Army families can get help locating quality child care providers in the communities. Army families may also receive fee assistance to help reduce the high cost of child care. Fee assistance varies by family and is determined by factors such as total family income, geographic location, Army child care fee policies, and available funding.  Eligible child care providers must be state licensed and annual inspected.

For married Soldiers, the spouse must be working, looking for work or attending school. The same policies will apply to unmarried legal parents living in the same household.

Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood (MCCYN)

This is designed to meet the child care needs of service members and civilians living in areas where on-base military child care is not available. 

This program is for families of active duty Soldiers, Active Guard Reserve (AGR) Soldiers and Army civilians, to include Recruiting Command, Cadet Command and U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command personnel. For married Soldiers, the spouse must be working, looking for work or attending school. The same policies will apply to unmarried legal parents living in the same household. Eligible child care providers must be nationally accredited.

Give Army Parents a Break (Respite Child Care)

Eligible parents can get up to five (5) hours of respite child care each month for each child up to age 12. The program is open to Army recruiters and Cadet Command cadre (trainers).

Army Fee Assistance Program Administer

Since 2004, family and MWR programs have offered Army Child Care Fee Assistance programs. The Fee Assistance programs have been administered by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) and by the General Services Administration (GSA). 

Find information on the above child care programs at the Child Care Aware NACCRRA website at this link: http://www.naccrra.org/military-families.

The GSA will assume all responsibility for administrating the Army Fee Assistance program on or around May 1, 2014.  More information about the transition can be found at www.armyfeeassistancenaccrra.org.

<![CDATA[Program supports families with exceptional family member]]>Thu, 27 Feb 2014 20:34:27 GMThttp://www.therecruiterjournal.com/the-family-corner/program-supports-families-with-exceptional-family-memberTerri Batschelet
Commanding General’s Spouse

I want to welcome everyone in our USAREC family to “Family Corner,” a recurring section in the Recruiter Journal that will give me the opportunity to make sure our families are aware of all the services available to them.I know everyone is familiar with the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) since all Soldiers Army wide with an EFM are required to enroll.The program works with other military and civilian agencies to help families with providing comprehensive and coordinated community support, housing, educational, medical and personnel services to exceptional family members.Currently, 1,213 Soldiers within USAREC are enrolled in the EFMP. But did you know there is an additional arm to the program to assist recruiting families? In an effort to help assist commands with geo-dispersed populations, in 2010 IMCOM established the EFMP Systems Navigator - a community support component of the EFMP that connects families with special needs to the systems of care they need, both on and off the installation. The Army recognizes the importance of expanding the EFMP SN support to geo-dispersed commands, so IMCOM approved two EFMP system navigators just for USAREC, to take care of the needs of the EFMs within our geo-dispersed command. The USAREC EFMP system navigators provide the following services:
· Assist with identifying your EFM and family strengths and needs
· Help identify and prioritize your EFM and family goals
· Develop a family service plan to reach your goals
· Make referrals to required services
· Provide information about disabilities or medical conditions of concern
· Find transportation to appointments related to the family service plan
· Identify support groups and social activities
.· Strengthen your ability to advocate for your EFM
· Referral to a military school liaison officer to assist with educational needs

For further information or services, please contact your brigade EFMP systems navigator. Dwight Wiggins can help you if you fall under 1st Brigade, 2nd Brigade and MRB. He can be reached at 502-626-1080 or email edward.d.wiggins4.ctr@mail.mil

Emily Hay is the systems navigator for 3rd Brigade, 5th Brigade and 6th Brigade. Her contact information is 502-626-2015 or email emily.g.hay2.ctr@mail.mil

As USAREC's Family Readiness Group (FRG) advisor, I also encourage you to stay in touch with your battalion Soldier Family Assistance SFA and FRG leaders, as they are your best sources for information.

The Family Resource Guide also contains a wealth of information. http://www.usarec.army.mil/downloads/hq/HRD/SFA/USAREC_FamilyResourceGuideOct2013.pdf

All battalion SFAPMs except MRB may be reached by calling 1-800-790-0963.When prompted, you need to know what brigade your Soldier belongs to. i.e #1for 1st Recruiting Brigade and so on. After choosing the brigade it willprompt you to choose your battalion.

If you cannot reach the battalion SFAPM by using the 1-800 # you may call the Brigade SFAPM at:
1st BDE: (301) 677-4568
2nd BDE: (256) 450-9532
3rd BDE: (502) 626-1049
5th BDE: (210) 221-2956
6th BDE: (702) 639-2010
MRB BDE: (502) 626-3236

For MRB battalions you may call:1st MRB: (301) 677-66952nd MRB: (256) 450-96703rd MRB: (502)626-07885th MRB: (210)295-08136th MRB: (702) 898-9842