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January 2012 Family Newsletter

Welcome to Army OneSource Family News - the monthly newsletter from Army Community Service (ACS) and ArmyOneSource.com, the Army's most comprehensive portal for Family members.

IN THIS MONTH'S ISSUE:

 
MLK

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Holiday

Each year on the third Monday of January schools, federal offices, post offices and banks across America close as we celebrate the newest American national holiday.

15 years after Dr. King's death President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law making the third Monday of January a national holiday celebrating the birth and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

But it was a tough time getting the bill passed.

Military Spouses: We Salute You! Family Advocacy Program

The holidays provide us with a chance to reflect upon our lives and think about what we are most thankful for. While the entire nation is extremely indebted and thankful to our military service members, we are also extremely grateful for the service of our military spouses. Military spouses serve alongside their military members and these partnerships strengthen and improve the military and its mission.

The value of military spouses is impossible to measure. For some, marriage provided their initial introduction to the military; for others, military life and service is part of many generations of family heritage and tradition. They develop a deep understanding of the military culture and mission so they are able to provide support, comfort, and an understanding ear to their service member.

Family Advocacy
Personal Reflection

Personal Reflection Starts New Year Right

As the year comes to an end, people often reflect on what has transpired over the past year. How is my life different than 2010? It is an important question to ask and ponder. Are you getting closer to your goals and dreams? Perhaps even achieving them? Can you measure growth? If you haven’t done this before, or you haven’t done it so thoroughly, I highly recommend starting the tradition.

14,000,000 Hours and Counting: Operation Honor Card Inspires Americans To Serve Military Families and Veterans

Operation Honor Card has successfully collected 14,000,000 pledged hours of service from Americans who want to honor military families and veterans through acts of kindness, big and small, showing appreciation for their sacrifice.

With more than 5,740,000 hours already served, Operation Honor Card has inspired communities across the nation to come together in a grassroots effort to proudly honor military families and veterans.

Honor Card
Families

The Unsung Heroes of War – Our Families

"Service members enlist. Their families are drafted."

That familiar refrain has been uttered time and time again on American military bases across the globe during these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There's a lot of truth found in it, and such a reality rarely ends when a service member returns home.

Exceptional Family Member Program: Check Out what’s New!

One of the most exciting aspects of my job is adapting and improving our programs and services to better support our military families. An example of this is the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). We are working continuously to update the EFMP to better serve our service members and their families.

The EFMP offers many great benefits that can help address the challenges that can come with having a family member with special medical or educational needs. Families can receive assistance with managing appointments, answering questions, and navigating confusing medical and educational systems. The EFMP also provides access to respite care to provide caregivers with an opportunity to rest and reenergize.

EFMP
SitterCity

Sittercity Childcare Program for All Service Members

Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force Families - Your Sittercity membership gives you online access to local caregivers with profiles that include pictures, parent reviews, references, background checks and more. The best part is that this free membership is available to all military families (Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force; active duty, reserve and guard).

The Scientific Study of the Military Child

When the First Lady cares about something, it inspires action – and within the past few weeks, the First Lady’s Joining Forces initiative inspired child development researchers to gather together and consider something very close to my heart, military children. It's easy for people to forget about military children – the image most people have of “the military” tends to be of young fighting men. But as a military spouse, I know that more than ever before we have an older, married military – more than half of those in uniform have children. More than 2 million children have sent a parent to war over the past ten years, according to the Defense Department.

Military Child
Tuition

Senators to DoD: Back off rules for TA schools

Pressure is mounting on the Pentagon to abandon a new tuition assistance oversight scheme that has dozens of top schools threatening to withdraw from the military’s education program for active-duty troops.

The rules require all schools accepting Tuition Assistance money to sign an agreement that includes a promise to be flexible about transferring credits from other schools, granting academic credit for military training, and limiting full-time residency requirements to accommodate troops who frequently move.

Remove Ban on Women in Combat

Like any employer, the U.S. military wants the best and brightest in its ranks.

That means it must ensure everyone who serves has an opportunity to advance on merit. And that means it can no longer bar women from combat.

Women in Combat
Divorce

Military: Women Soldiers’ Divorce Rate Twice as High as Men, Military Says

Women soldiers in the United States military are more than twice as likely to become divorced as their male counterparts, according to figures released by the Department of Defense. And no one is exactly certain why.

Pentagon figures on divorce in the military, compiled in 2006 by the DOD, shows that 7 percent of women in the service and 2.7 percent of men had their marriages wind up on the rocks. "I don't have an answer why more women get divorces than men in the military. I only have numbers," said Lt. Col.Les Melnyk, a military spokesman.

Plan Targets Mental Health of Guard

The Pentagon is urging Congress not to create a mental health program for National Guard soldiers that backers argue is necessary at a time when suicides among them are at record levels.

"I was really surprised that the Department of Defense decided to oppose this," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "It's just a no-brainer to make sure that this is out there for every Guard and Reserve member wherever they live."

Mental Health
Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault in Military Intolerable

There is a growing epidemic in the U.S. military that can put the morale and health of our forces at risk. Cases of sexual assault are becoming more prevalent in the public eye and statistically, we have seen an increasing number of reported cases of sexual assault.

More than 3,400 sexual assault cases were reported either through restricted or unrestricted channels, according to the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Department Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. Many critics see the increased number of reported cases as an indicator that current policies and efforts are ineffective. Others say the increase is a sign of progress — reflecting growing confidence victims now have in the system.

Voice Your Feedback on the New Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) Website

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) is only six months old, but we have made tremendous progress in that short time. With close to 100 employer partners that include Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, non-profits, academia, government, and the medical field, we are on our way to ensuring all military spouses who desire to work can find stable and meaningful employment. Since June, over 115,000 jobs have been posted to www.msepjobs.com, and there are currently over 60,000 jobs available on the site. To date, over 10,400 spouses have found employment through the MSEP program.

We have recently begun work on the next generation of the MSEP web site. We’re at the ground floor of this effort, and we want your ideas and your input!

MSEP
Behavioral Health

Tele-behavioral Health Officially Opens its Doors in Hawaii

The culmination of a year-long endeavor came to fruition Nov. 28 with a grand opening ceremony as Pacific Regional Medical Command's Tele-behavioral Health (Tele-Medicine) officially opened its doors here.

"This event represents partnership; between regional commands, local commands, facilities and providers of different disciplines; all working towards a shared common goal -- that is to provide behavioral health care to service members and their dependents throughout the Pacific and outlying distant areas using tele-health technology," said U.S. Public Health Services Corps Lt. Eduardo Cua, director, Tele-behavioral Health and Surge Support.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Aims to Simplify Credit Card Agreements

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, at a news conference in Cleveland, Ohio, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched a new Know Before You Owe project aimed at simplifying credit card agreements so that the prices, risks, and terms are easier for consumers to understand.

The CFPB is asking the public to weigh in on a prototype credit card agreement that is shorter, written in plain language, and explains key features upfront.

Credit Cards
Homeless Veterans

Ranks of Homeless Veterans in Decline

The number of homeless veterans in the United States declined by nearly 12 percent between January 2010 and January 2011, according to figures being released Tuesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan called the decline "nothing short of extraordinary," given the economic conditions in the country.

Military Children Stay a Step Ahead of Public School Students

The results are now public from the 2011 federal testing program known as NAEP, the National Assessment of Educational Progress. And once again, schools on the nation's military bases have outperformed public schools on both reading and math tests for fourth and eighth graders.

At the military base schools, 39 percent of fourth graders were scored as proficient in reading, compared with 32 percent of all public school students.

Public Schools
Veterans in Prison

In Florida, Using Military Discipline to Help Veterans in Prison

James R. White, a Marine Corps veteran in a blue uniform, saluted crisply as the honor guard marched around the courtyard, stopped and marched again.

But there were no weapons in sight here. No polished shoes. No gleaming caps. The 85 men standing at attention wore prison garb. When the ceremony was over, they ambled back to their wing of Complex 1, a housing area set aside for military veterans serving time at Sumter Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison in rural central Florida.