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By Rob McIlvaine
FMWRC Public Affairs

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – “Heroes at Home,” a DoD-funded program in partnership with the Parents as Teachers National Center, will be transitioning to the New Parent Support Program (NPSP), a Family Services program run by the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command.

This transition will be accomplished by September 30 of this year, and affects about 1,200 Families at 23 garrisons across the U.S., Hawaii and Alaska.

In June 2007, the Department of the Army was designated the executive agent for PAT-HAH, a DoD-directed and -funded program that supported military Families with children from conception to five years old. Although both programs provide resources to enhance healthy individual and Family functioning, the Defense Department notified all military branches in January of this year that funding for PAT-HAH would be discontinued.

“The Army recognizes the importance of programs that support Soldiers and parents,” FMWRC Commanding General Maj. Gen. Reuben D. Jones said in an open letter to parents.

“While PAT-HAH has been well received by Army Families, funding for this program will continue through September 30. On that day, the Army will continue to support parents and Families utilizing the New Parent Support Program,” Jones continued in his letter.

Army staff at multiple levels and across Child, Youth & School Services and Army Community Service will work during the transition process to ensure the Army meets its commitment to provide Family programs and services that enhance Soldier and Family readiness, in alignment with the Army Family Covenant. New Army Families interested in parent support programs will be referred to the NPSP directly.

“Participation in the NPSP is voluntary. If existing PAT-HAH parents would like to participate, Army Community Service, Child, Youth and School Services, and their Parent Educator will develop a transition plan and prepare them for services under the NPSP, or community-based services of their choice,” CYSS Specialist Richard Miller said.

The New Parent Support Program services are provided by experienced, licensed, clinical social workers and registered nurses who have extensive experience working with Families with young children and who are sensitive to the unique challenges facing military Families.

This ACS parent support program helps Families adapt to military life and is designed to: enhance knowledge and skills to promote healthy Family interaction; form healthy relationships; provide safe and nurturing environments for children; and enhance Family support networks.

Program activities include screening, play groups, support groups, deployment briefs, reunion and reintegration briefs, and parent education classes covering a wide variety of parent- and child-centered topics. A NPSP Home Visitor will work with the Family to determine which services would be most appropriate.

Existing PAT-HAH Families should inform their Parent Educator of their interest to participate in NPSP by August 31.

“While we anticipate this transition will be a seamless process, change can be difficult. But we will continue to fully support you in your role as a parent and as a Soldier under the Army Family Covenant,” Jones concluded in his letter to parents.

For more information, contact the local CYSS, garrison Family Advocacy Program Manager or Parent Educator to discuss NPSP and other services offered to Army Families by ACS.