Military Family Readiness Council Meets
The National Military Family Association participates as a member of the congressionally-mandated Department of Defense (DoD) Military Family Readiness Council (MFRC). The most recent meeting was held in the Pentagon Conference Center on January 22, 2013, chaired by Mrs. Jessica Wright, Acting Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness). After the last meeting in September, the council members made recommendations for the council’s required report to Congress. These recommendations directed DoD and the Services to:
- Review existing programs and prepare them for full-scope program evaluation.
- Include evaluation components when a new program is developed and implemented. When possible, these programs should be modeled on research based programs.
- Include funding for assessment in the program’s budget.
- Standardize the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) across the Services.
Additionally, the council received a brief on Service family policy changes since September 2012 including updates to the Navy policy concerning services for children with and without disabilities in the Child and Youth program and changes to the Navy Family Advocacy Program (FAP) Case Review Committee procedures. The Marine Corps has added new policies and procedures for their Information and Referral program, focused on permanent change of station moves and relocation.
Mr. Charles Milam, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy) outlined the new DoD-wide Common Services Task Force.
The Council is focusing on these areas this year:
- Improving joint-base services. Improving family program integration of Guard and Reserve families.
- Coordinate efforts with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Cross Functional Teams
- Assess military family needs, reduce duplication, and enhance program effectiveness
- Strengthen the force and enhance resiliency
- Public awareness, transition gaps, and building community capacity
3. Exceptional Family Member Program
Council members asked for more information on DoD’s efforts in particular areas. One suggestion asked DoD to provide an overview of how the National Guard and Reserve are addressing changing family readiness needs in light of the revised use of the Reserve Component. Council members also asked for a briefing on the impact of recent court rulings and legislative changes on the Exceptional Family Member Program. The council members expressed an interest in meeting more frequently.
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