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9: State and Local Government Officials

On May 12, 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama issued a national challenge, a challenge to every sector of American society to mobilize and take action to support and engage our military families. In that same speech, the First Lady announced a new Presidential Directive requiring the National Security staff to lead a ninety-day review to develop a coordinated Federal government-side approach to supporting and engaging military families.

State and local governments can follow the Federal government’s lead and do their own review of agencies. Do you mention military families and families of the fallen in your communications about services? How can state and local government agencies support military families and survivors?

Action Items:

  • Elected officials have the leadership position, staff, and resources to help their local communities assist the needs of military families. Make your state’s military families a key priority for your administration and this will encourage others to get involved.
  • As elected leaders you can hold community meetings to bring together people who want to help. You can also provide examples of what other communities are doing to successfully support their military families.
  • Local leaders can help build a roadmap or guide to the services available in the community. Provide the information to all families, including military families, in the community so they know where to go when they need help.

 

  • Use a variety of community recognition tools – such as community awards, citizen of the week programs, rewards to school children who excel – to honor those who have done a good job at supporting military families and families of the fallen in their community.
  • Contact your member organizations (U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, National Association of County Officials, or the National Governors’ Association) to put together a leadership table of your peers to share best practices and create new efforts where none exist.

Resources:

The Department of Defense (DoD) State Liaison Office seeks to engage the states about the needs of military members and their families. By developing state/military partnerships, DoD seeks to work with the states to remove unnecessary barriers, and significantly improve the quality of life for military families. To learn more about the DoD State Liaison Office and their ten priorities visit www.usa4militaryfamilies.dod.mil.

The Yellow Ribbon Program is a Department of Defense program to support National Guard and Reserve members and their families before, during and after deployment. The Yellow Ribbon Program has created a Center of Excellence that highlights lessons learned from state and local community programs. To access the Yellow Ribbon Program and the Center of Excellence go to www.yellowribbon.mil.

The Joint Family Support Assistance Program (JFSAP) provides family support to geographically-dispersed military families. Unlike traditional military family support programs that are delivered on the military installation, these services are delivered within the community through partnerships with local, state, and federal governments. For more information on the JFSAP, go to www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/sp/jfsap.

Joint Services Support (JSS) is a program of the National Guard Bureau. Open to all Guard, Reserve, and Active Duty families - regardless of Service, JSS provides information on programs and services available in your community. For more information, go to www.jointservicessupport.org.

National Network of Partnership Schools provides research-based guidance on engaging parents, schools, and community leaders to create student success in schools. Find out more at www.partnershipschools.org.

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is a program of the State of Minnesota. Minnesota has been a leader among the states in providing support to their military families. To learn more about the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program, go to www.beyondtheyellowribbon.org.

The Citizen Soldier Support Program (CSSP) is a capacity-building initiative designed to strengthen community support for National Guard and Reserve members and their families. Visit www.citizensoldiersupport.org for more information.