New Parent & Deployment Education Programs Help Families
WASHINGTON (Army New Service Feb. 1, 2002) -- If the Army wanted you to have a family it would have issued you one.
Heard that line before? It was the motto of the "old" Army, an Army that didn't include 231,000 moms and dads and 450,000 children.
But the Army is a changin'.
The Army has come to the realization that soldiers come with a family
Not only have the demographics changed, but the Army's view of soldiers with families has shifted too.
"The Army has come to the realization that soldiers come with a family," said Teri Maude of the Army Community and Family Support Center. "It's already difficult raising a child, but frequent moves, dangerous work and sudden deployments really make it challenging."
The Army has created several programs to help the parent soldier, which makes up nearly half of the entire active-duty force.
One such program is the New Parent Support Program. Part of the Department of Defense Healthy Parent Initiative, NPSP has two sections that target first-time, young parents and dual military couples.
The first section, NPSP-standard, is available at all Army installations and is open to all families. Services provided include play mornings for young children, general parent education, and support activities.
The second section, NPSP-plus, is available at larger Army installations. This program uses role modeling, mentoring and one-on-one parent education to supplement and complement existing installation programs. In addition, NPSP-plus uses a home visitation model to promote positive parenting.
"This program acts as a support net to help catch parents who may not know about some of the resources available to them," said Maude.
To help families left behind when their soldier spouse deploys, the Community and Family Support Center instituted Operation R.E.A.D.Y. (Resources for Educating About Deployment and You) Program in 1995. The program focuses on separation issues, promoting communication among family members and providing additional resources to help families cope. The program provides assistance prior to, during and after deployment.
"Operation R.E.A.D.Y. is a widely used, successful program," said Holly Gifford, the mobilization and deployment program manager for CFSC. "It has helped family members become much more self-reliant while their spouse is deployed as well as reduce the strain on the resources an uninformed spouse would need to use."
Operation R.E.A.D.Y. and other programs to assist military families are available at all military bases through the installation's Army community service center.