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Military Community and Family Policy Outreach Jan 6 2012

Military Community and Family Policy Outreach Jan 6 2012

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    Mcfp outreach jan 6 Mcfp outreach jan 6 Document Transcript

    • Image description. MC&FP banner image End of image description.Blog post of Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy AssistantSecretary of Defense (Military Community and FamilyPolicy)Image description. Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (MC&FP) End of image description.Great News for Military Spouses!A short while ago, I invited the military community to provide their feedback, thoughts, and ideas onsome of the looks we were considering for the next generation of the Military Spouse EmploymentPartnership (MSEP) website. I want to personally thank all of you who provided your candid andthoughtful input.We posted mockups of what could be the home page of the new website and then asked for yourcomments. Your feedback was invaluable, and we will incorporate your suggestions in the design as wefinalize the website in preparation for its launch in early 2012.Beyond the new look and feel, I’m excited to tell you that the site will have enhanced functionality,including the ability to search jobs by zip code and to search for telecommuting jobs. The site will alsofeature a resume builder function and provide you with tailored email alerts when you are matched to ajob posting. You will be able to build your profile by including your education and experience, and yourjob matches can be based on this information as well.It’s hard to believe that MSEP is only six months old. In that brief time, we’ve brought the number ofemployer partners to nearly 100. These include Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, non-profits,academia and government, and there are more on the way. As of today, there are nearly 60,000 jobslisted on the existing MSEPjobs.com, and since June 2010, more than 10,400 spouses have foundemployment through the MSEP program.With your help, we will build on this momentum as we move into 2012 to make MSEP an even moreeffective tool in empowering our military spouses to find jobs and career opportunities.Also, I am pleased to inform you that MSEP is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to host afree Military Spouse Career Forum and Hiring Fair. The event will be January 13, 2012, in Washington,D.C. Military spouses may register here and upload a resume when registering.National and local employers with open positions will be present and will conduct interviews on-site. Page 1 of 12
    • MC&FP Weekly (January 6,2012) 1/6/2012This will be the nation’s largest career fair dedicated exclusively to military spouses. The MilitarySpouse Career Forum and Hiring Fair will be co-hosted by NBC4, NBC News, Joining Forces andHandsOn Greater DC Cares. Registration for this event closes Jan. 10, 2012, so please register andreserve your spot today.Thanks to our partnership with the Chamber, we are on our way to ensuring all military spouses whodesire to work can find stable and meaningful employment.All the best to you and yours for a safe, happy, and healthy New Year. Until next time, be well! Page 2 of 12
    • MC&FP Weekly (January 6,2012) 1/6/2012Joining ForcesJoining ForcesThe Scientific Study of the Military ChildEd note: This guest post was written by Kathy Roth-Douquet, who is the CEO of Blue Star FamiliesWhen the First Lady cares about something, it inspires action – and within the past few weeks, the FirstLady’s Joining Forces initiative inspired child development researchers to gather together and considersomething very close to my heart, military children. Its 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 militaryspouse, I know that more than ever before we have an older, married military – more than half of thosein uniform have children. More than 2 million children have sent a parent to war over the past ten years,according to the Defense Department. That’s an enormous number – more than the number of peoplewho have fought in many of our wars. And yet we know very little scientifically about how thisexperience has affected them, what are the implications for child development, and more urgently, tothose of us who parent military kids – what can we do to help our children meet the challenges?Even after ten years of war, we know relatively little, there is relatively little programming for militarychildren, and many programs aren’t based on research. I was thrilled when prominent researchers at theDC-based think-tank, CNA, proposed putting together a workshop on "The Scientific Study of MilitaryChildren." It was the first of its kind, bringing together leading researchers on children’s behavioralhealth – who may not have ever considered military children – together with researchers from themilitary community, then, importantly, adding policy makers (to make sure something comes of theconference) and real military families and children as speakers, to keep it real. Joining Forces co-sponsored the conference. I was proud to have my organization, Blue Star Families, involved, and towork with Military Child Education Coalition on the program, as well as with researchers from majorresearch institutions. The workshop met for two-and-a-half days in late November.What did we learn from this conference? Things that ring true: that the challenges of military life playout over time, that military children can develop character strengths and resilience from the pride thatthey feel in their lifestyle and their recognition that the work of their parents is important. We alsolearned that parents’ psychological health is important for the functioning of their children.But more importantly, what do we still need to learn? Conference organizer Dr. Sarah L. Friedmansummarized that we come away from the workshop with an explicit research agenda, that requirespolicy support: we need to learn more how to reduce the experience of stress, and to learn more aboutwhat conditions increase resilience in families and in children of different ages, temperament and pre-existing conditions. Some specific items: • Again and again speakers asserted the effects of deployment and its aftermath may emerge over time or diminish over time, so we need research that tracks children over time. • Much of the research regarding military children is based on samples of convenience. For the conclusions of research on military children to be valid, we need to recruit families and children that are representative. Page 3 of 12
    • MC&FP Weekly (January 6,2012) 1/6/2012 • We need to evaluate existing programs for the extent that they support attachments to key figures in the child’s life, reduce stress and increase coping skills. Interventions that do not do that may not be useful or effective. They may not help children thrive despite the challenges of parental deployment, injury and death.And most importantly, something my group, Blue Star Families has focused on is the fact that in themilitary, the family is an important unit for understanding the individual, and for health and well-being.As Dr. Friedman said, "Since the family is perhaps the most important factor in determining the successof children’s development over time, we need to understand how military families function and whatmakes them healthy and strong. There is a need for research that will inform us about how to (a) bestsupport families with children and (b) reduce conflict and abuse in the context of the family."Research agendas are very important – science-based research is how we make sure we are doing workthat really helps. But in the meantime – what about me and my children? I asked Dr. Friedman, what arethe take-aways for military parents – or those who care about military children? Here’s what she toldme:I think it would be helpful to tell families that the children of deployed parents, injured parents andparents who give their life to defend US interests abroad do best when they are part of loving familiesand caring communities. The specific manifestation of the love and the care that the children need inorder to thrive depend on their age and their special characteristics, including temperament. In order toadvise parents, child care providers and teachers how to nurture military children of different ages,temperaments and pre-existing health issues—we need to do research. To do such research, families andchildren need to allow researchers into their lives. They need to agree to share information aboutthemselves. We hope that families and children will be generous and agree to participate in research thatwill benefit many other children in the future.A few days after I got back from the conference, my husband and I walked our little dog in the hilly parknear our new home – new duty station – in Germany. We were talking about how our children wereadjusting to this latest move, the newest school – the 8th school for my 7th grader. And I found myselftelling my husband about the conference. There were a couple things that gave me structure, and focusfor thinking about my parenting, and about our family. First and most important was the piece aboutsecure attachment. It’s hard for us to always know how our actions, our choices, affect our kids. Themoves, the deployments – too much discipline, not enough? But we can love our kids, and let them feelwe understand their needs, respond to those needs, provide support and truly care for them, and feelsome confidence that that in itself makes a difference. Secondly, I thought about the finding that ourmental health – we the parents – matter. So we need to keep our own stress in check, or shape it for ourkids. If we think the deployment, the move is terrible, that’s what the kids will think too. Instead, I cansay, "I really hate unpacking too, it’s hard when you haven’t made friends yet, but in a few months, thiswill be behind us – we just need to get through it." And we need to make the time, take the steps weneed to manage our stress – whether that’s exercise, yoga, counseling, or getting enough sleep. Andfinally, remember that all these experiences play out over time, particularly the experience of being soclose to war, whether we’re the service member or the family member. We need to have patience and letthem play out, and not insist that "it’s over now, let’s just move on."The conference was a relief for me. It’s a relief to have smart, inclusive thinking applied to the problemsfacing the military community, military families in particular. I am gratified that the country, throughJoining Forces, is helping my small community with these issues. After all, these kids are serving thecountry in their own way. And it’s good to feel that the country cares. Page 4 of 12
    • MC&FP Weekly (January 6,2012) 1/6/2012Weekly TipsMilitary Community and Family Policy Weekly TipsNutrition Tip of the Week - Staying Healthy & On Budget (Part I)Ready to start the new year eating healthy on a budget? Then these tips are just for you! There are manyways to save money on the foods that you eat. The three main steps are planning before you shop,purchasing the items at the best price, and preparing meals that stretch your food dollars. For morespecific tips on how to do this take a look at this week and next week’s tips. • Plan, plan, plan!: Before you head to the grocery store, plan your meals for the week. Include meals like stews, casseroles, or stir-fries, which "stretch" expensive items into more portions. Check to see what foods you already have and make a list for what you need to buy. • Get the best price: Check the local newspaper, online, and at the store for sales and coupons. Ask about a loyalty card for extra savings at stores where you shop. Look for specials or sales on meat and seafood—often the most expensive items on your list. • Compare and contrast: Locate the "Unit Price" on the shelf directly below the product. Use it to compare different brands and different sizes of the same brand to determine which is more economical. • Buy in bulk: It is almost always cheaper to buy foods in bulk. Smart choices are family packs of chicken, steak, or fish and larger bags of potatoes and frozen vegetables. Before you shop, remember to check if you have enough freezer space. • Buy in season: Buying fruits and vegetables in season can lower the cost and add to the freshness! If you are not going to use them all right away, buy some that still need time to ripen.Parenting Tip of the Week - Installation Youth CentersMost installations have a youth center for teens. Visit DoDs Military Installations website to check ifthere is one at your nearest installation. If there is one, it can be a source of recreational entertainmentfor both you and your teens. • Explore: Go to the youth center and check things out. Go there together, if possible, and explore all that the facility has to offer. You may even want to call ahead and make an appointment with the director or one of the leaders and get an official tour so that you can be made aware of all the options available. • Get involved: Once you know the activities available at the center, begin to get involved. Make sure to get to know the director and youth leaders in the process. These are people who care about you and your family and want to help however they can. • Volunteer: One way to be able to spend more fun time together would be for you to volunteer to help at the youth center. Ask the director what you could help with.Lets Move/Childhood Obesity Tip of the Week - Tips to Help You Eat VegetablesMake vegetables more appealing: • Many vegetables taste great with a dip or dressing. Try a low-fat salad dressing with raw broccoli, red and green peppers, celery sticks, or cauliflower. Page 5 of 12
    • MC&FP Weekly (January 6,2012) 1/6/2012 • Add color to salads by adding baby carrots, shredded red cabbage, or spinach leaves. Include in- season vegetables for variety through the year. • Include beans or peas in flavorful mixed dishes, such as chili or minestrone soup. • Decorate plates or serving dishes with vegetable slices. • Keep a bowl of cut-up vegetables in a see-through container in the refrigerator. Carrot and celery sticks are traditional, but consider red or green pepper strips, broccoli florets, or cucumber slices.Financial Tip of the Week - Your Future FinancesTodays economy has forced us to rethink the definition of the American Dream. Studies reveal a shifttoward more modest goals — having a financial safety net and achieving personal fulfillment overbecoming wealthy. Despite changing the yardstick, the dream is still out of reach for many.Nearly three quarters of Americans view financial security — in the form of savings to cover layoffs,illness, or other emergencies, as well as insurance and retirement accounts — as critical to achieving theDream, according to the 2011 MetLife Study of the American Dream. However, nearly as many saythey dont have a safety net in place, 53% report living paycheck to paycheck, and 38% report nothaving an adequate retirement savings plan.The study also revealed that 76% of Americans are now taking a do-it-yourself approach to buildingtheir safety net and protecting their familys future, rather than relying on corporate or governmentprograms.Take steps now to get a better handle on retirement expense projections, whatever your definition of theAmerican Dream. Ask yourself some simple questions and then do your own math: • Avoid the disappearing act. Identify spending patterns now and determine what you wont be paying for in retirement. Will you pay off your mortgage? Finish paying off the kids college debts? Save on taxes once youre not working? • Get real. Count on higher health care costs, and determine if your dream includes travel plans. • Expect a spike, but not for long. Studies indicate that your first years of retirement will be your most expensive. For average households, individuals age 65 to 75 spent an average of $41,434 in 2010, or roughly 72% of the amount they spent during their prime earning years, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2010. In comparison, individuals older than age 75 spent only about 55% of their highest-earning years income. • Size up current savings. Do you have a pension from your current or previous jobs? List your balances in employer-sponsored retirement plans, IRAs, Roth IRAs, or other accounts. Visit ssa.gov for your projected Social Security payout. • Dont ignore inflation. Inflation has averaged 3% a year since 1925. If you need $50,000 in 2011 to cover annual living expenses, at 3% inflation youd need about $90,000 in 2031, and $141,000 in 2041 just to maintain the same purchasing power. • Run the numbers. Use more than one retirement calculator and plug in the information youve collected. Expect different results across calculators — they all ask for slightly different information. Then tweak the data. By changing retirement age or expected interest rates, you get a sense of how small changes now have a big effect on how long your savings will last.Military OneSource Tip of the Week - Its Time for Your Annual Financial Check-up!The militarys personal financial management programs can help you learn how to reduce debt, savemore, and keep your finances in order. They can also help you get on your feet, start investing for the Page 6 of 12
    • MC&FP Weekly (January 6,2012) 1/6/2012future, and be more financially sound. • Give you personal finance basics. Counselors can go over your finances and suggest ways to pay down debt. They can also teach you about savings, investments, and making a family budget. • Help you file consumer complaints. If theres something on your credit that you dont think is correct, you can go to your financial management counselor for help. • Offer up-to-date savings advice. The programs can give you information about Savings Deposit Program for eligible deployed personnel and investment programs like the Thrift Savings Program. • Help you deal with credit issues. Counselors can help you write letters and contact creditors to repair your credit and help you clean up your credit report. • Talk to you about consumer laws. Consumers are more protected than they think. Counselors can help you understand consumer rights and how to get the best interest rates on loans (although they cant offer legal advice). • Help you with banking matters. Everyone has done it: a check bounces, and the fees add up. Counselors can help you avoid undue charges by helping you keep your accounts current. • Talk with you about whether or not to make large purchases. If youre thinking of buying a car or getting a personal loan, a financial counselor can talk with you about whether this step makes financial sense for you right now. • Help you plan to save for a home or car. If you decide to make a large purchase, but dont have the finances for it, a counselor can help you make a plan to save. • Plan for the future. If youre having a baby, you can talk to a counselor about the best options for a savings account or college fund for your child. • Prepare for relocation. Be prepared for your next Permanent Change of Station move by saving and by researching your home options. Your counselor can help you make financial decisions to ease the transition.Programs by Service branchCheck with your Family Support Center for information about your Service branchs financialmanagement program. You can also learn more from your Service branchs family support website:ArmyArmy Community Service (ACS) Financial Readiness Program(click on "Family Programs and Services" and "Family Programs")Each command has a Command Financial Specialist (CFS), and Personal Financial Managers (PFMs)are available through the Army Community Service Center.Marine CorpsMarine Corps Community Services (MCCS) Personal Financial Management ProgramProvides financial education and counseling through Personal Financial Management Specialists at localMarine Corps Community Services centers and Command Financial Specialists within commands.Classes and workshops cover issues such as financial planning, investment planning, moneymanagement, and retirement and estate planning.NavyFleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) Personal Financial Management Program (PFM)(click on "Personal Finances")The PFM provides education and personalized financial coaching to service members and families; helpwith financial planning, credit/debt management, CSB/REDUX, the Thrift Savings Program, car buying, Page 7 of 12
    • MC&FP Weekly (January 6,2012) 1/6/2012insurance, savings and investments, deployment cycle finances, home buying, and personal banking.The program also provides education forums at career intervals, including Recruit Training, Initial SkillTraining, Petty Officer Indoctrination, First Term and Mid-Career Exploration Workshops, TransitionAssistance Program, and Pre-Retirement seminars.Air ForceAirman and Family Readiness Centers can guide you to resources that help you manage debt, beginsaving, protect against identity theft, and secure your familys future. Air Force bases offer beginnerfinancial classes to help you set up a budget, live within your means, and learn the basics of taxes andinvesting.Spouse Tip of the Week - Do You Want or Need Education or Training for Portable CareerEmployment?Its easy. Funding is available. Schools and employers are ready. To get started, call Military OneSourceto speak with a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) Counselor ((800) 342-9647) to helpmake the connections you need to reach your work-life goals, starting today!Set up a telephone appointment with a SECO counselor to discuss: • Career Exploration. Find out what work are you best suited for. Talk about the "fastest tracks" to employment. Learn about the job prospects and salary ranges for various occupations and vocations in different parts of the country – places where you will most likely be stationed. Then, make your own career decisions. SECO counselors can help. • Education and Training. SECO counselors can help you choose a school and program of study that will lead to a degree, license, or credential needed for portable career employment. They are aware that research shows that for every level of education you have, you will earn a significantly higher salary once employed. Also, to advance along portable career ladders, you will need more education and training. • Financial Assistance to Help Pay for School. The Department of Defenses MyCAA Career Advancement Accounts provide up to $4,000 of financial assistance directly to schools to help pay for education and training if you are pursuing an associate’s degree, license, or credential leading to portable career employment. Eligible spouses must be married to active duty members in pay grades E1-E5, W1-W2, or O1-O2. SECO counselors can also help spouses find other sources of financial assistance, including federal grants, loans, consumer awareness tools to evaluate and compare college financial aid packages, and transfer of the Post-9/11 Education Benefits earned by your service member (available to all pay grades). If you want to go to school to further your career and incoming earning capacity, you can do it. SECO counselors can help. • Career Readiness. Do you need help getting ready for a job search and entering the workforce? Could you use some new ideas or assistance with your resume, interview skills, job applications, job search, choosing a wardrobe, child care, or transportation? SECO counselors can provide assistance, coaching and resources to help you make and implement successful career transition plans. • Career Connections. Once youre ready to launch a job search, youll want to find military friendly employers with current job openings, starting with these: MSEPJobs portal (Fortune 500 Plus employers) and USAJobs (federal employers). These employers are actively recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting military spouses. SECO counselors can also guide you to job fairs scheduled by US and local Chambers of Commerce and military affiliated organizations in nearby communities where employers are prepared to interview and hire spouses and veterans on the spot. Page 8 of 12
    • MC&FP Weekly (January 6,2012) 1/6/2012So, make a New Years Resolution for 2012: Go back to school to get the education and training youneed for career success. The Department of Defense and military friendly employers are standing by tohelp. Call (800) 342-9647 today.Relocation Tip of the Week - Relocation Assistance Program Services and ToolsWhile moving is always stressful, your stress can be drastically reduced if you take full advantage of theinformation, education, and personal assistance provided to you by the Relocation Program. This is theplace to find answers and get referral to other installation resources as well as assistance with in-transitemergencies. The most important thing you can do to ensure a smooth move is to start planning earlyusing the many Relocation Assistance program services and tools available.Individual Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Planning. Most relocation programs offer one-on-one consultation for anyone needing assistance. In particular those making their first military move, firstoverseas move, or those with challenging and complex situations such as special needs family membersor financial problems should call the Relocation Program for an appointment.Military Installations and Plan My Move. For managing and planning your move, use these two DoDsponsored web-based relocation tools with information on over 250 installations worldwide. You canestimate expenses, find the forms necessary for housing and household goods, keep a calendar of events,and take other necessary actions to ensure a successful move.Loan Closet. Basic household goods items are available to borrow while waiting for your personalproperty pre-departure or upon arrival. The typical items in stock include: pots and pans, dishes,silverware, irons, ironing boards, port-a-cribs, high chairs, and infant/toddler car seats. Generally, towelsand bed linens are not available, so these should be packed in your hold baggage.Workshops and Briefings. The classes offered vary from installation to installation, but you cangenerally find classes on buying, selling, and renting smart, budgeting and finance, moving withchildren, general moving preparation, and many other moving related topics.Pre-departure Briefings. Sometimes called Smooth Move or PCS Briefings, you and your spouse willwant to attend. These briefings provide essential information that can prevent you from makinguninformed and costly decisions before your move.Settling-in Services. These may include welcome wagon services, local area tours with childcare oftenprovided, or basic household items to use until your goods arrive. Overseas arrival services may includeintroductory language classes and cultural awareness training.Deployment Support. The Family Center assists unit family readiness groups and Ombudsmanprograms during the entire deployment cycle. Support includes services for special needs, classes ondeployment preparation, managing finances, helping children adjust, family separation, return andreunion, and information on resources available locally and online.Foreign Born Spouse Support. Whether your question concerns immigration and naturalization,learning the English language, or how to take local transportation, the Relocation Program providesassistance, classes, and referrals. Page 9 of 12
    • MC&FP Weekly (January 6,2012) 1/6/2012In the NewsWeve captured the latest Quality of Life (QOL) information, as well as recent additions to the MilitaryCommunity & Family Policy (MC&FP) collection of websites, including MilitaryHOMEFRONT. Allin one location! For a complete listing of QoL topic areas and information, please return to theMilitaryHOMEFRONT homepage.In the NewsNotable Quality of Life developments and Department of Defense announcements and alerts.Hiring Our Heroes – Military Spouse Career Forum, Washington, DCThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Hiring Our Heroes - Military Spouse Career Forum,Washington DC job fair, scheduled for January 13 from 8:30am-2:30pm at the Walter E WashingtonConvention Center. Registration closes January 10, 2012!Sign Up for The Parent ReviewSign up for the weekly Parent Review. Enter your childs birthday (or anticipated birthday!) and youllget weekly information about your babys development and lots of articles tips, reminders and links toresources.NJ Teacher Wins National Award for her Work Supporting Military ChildrenAs a mother and a military spouse of thirty years, Mrs. Dougherty understands the separation andtransition issues that these resilient children face and is making a difference by offering free tutoringservices. This tutoring program gives military children the opportunity for one-on-one instruction inadvanced lessons or remedial needs, which enables the children to experience success and a smoothtransition in their new schools.New Law Eases Airport Screening for Troops, FamiliesPresident Barack Obama signed a bill into law to streamline airport screening procedures for servicemembers and their families traveling on official orders. The Risk-based Security Screening for Membersof the Armed Forces Act gives the Transportation Security Administration six months to develop andimplement a plan to expedite screening services for service members on orders and in uniform and, "tothe extent possible, any accompanying family member."Joining Forces with NASCAR to Say Thanks to our Troops and their FamiliesRecently, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden joined some of those families at a NASCAR race in Miami,Florida. It was a once in a lifetime experience for everyone who was there.Travel Stress-free with PetsMilitary moves can be tough on military families, especially if a spouse is deployed. Its hard enough toget the humans in the family ready for a big move, let alone a family pet. Fortunately, many resourcesare available to ensure your pet stays with your military family and isnt surrendered to a shelter, orgiven away.Defense Bill Affects Pay, Separation Bonuses, MorePresident Barack Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which increases active-duty and reserve pay by 1.6 percent and governs Defense Department activities, from procurement tomilitary personnel policy. Several provisions in this years act will potentially affect active-duty andretired service members and their families. Page 10 of 12
    • MC&FP Weekly (January 6,2012) 1/6/2012Connecting Military Families through Operation HomelinkMilitary families in Fort Bragg received a donation of 100 refurbished computers to help them keep intouch with loved ones who are deployed. Page 11 of 12
    • MC&FP Weekly (January 6,2012) 1/6/2012Guard and ReserveImage description. Two National Guard service members End of image description.No Sales Scheduled for January 2012Feb. 3-4 - Air National Guard - Portland, ORFeb. 18-19 - 116th Refueling Squadron - Moses Lake, WAMar. 3-4 - Guard and Reserve - Charleston, WVMar. 9-10 - Army National Guard - Walla-Walla, WA Page 12 of 12