Military Community And Familiy Policy E Magazine Jan 2010


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Military Community And Familiy Policy E Magazine Jan 2010

  1. 1. Image description. MC&FP seal End of image description. Image description. MC&FP End of image description. January 2010 MC&FP eMagazine The Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) is directly responsible for programs and policies that support community quality of life for service members and their families worldwide. Image description. MilitaryHOMEFRONT button End of image description. Message from the DUSD... Image description. Photo of Mr. Thomas End of image description. Image description. Plan My Move button End of image description. Image description. MilitaryINSTALLATIONS button End of image description. Image description. HOMEFRONTConnections button End of image description. Image description. Military OneSource button End of image description. January is a time for reflection, resolutions and renewed energy. From my Image description. Military Youth on the Move button End of image description. vantage point, it appears that 2010 is going to be another busy year – for all the right reasons. Support for service members and their families is strong. In the days to come, you can be sure that we’ll be actively engaged; your high energy will be very important. Image description. USA4 button End of image description. Our recipe for success will include planning – and then executing – our performance strategy. We'll need stakeholder collaboration, responsible resourcing and accountability. Our efforts must be transparent. To that end, Image description. Voluntary Education button End of image description. we'll need to use terminology the public understands. We'll need to plan for effective communication. We'll also need to pay close attention to the current climate and stay focused on our many customers. In the business model, the goal is to support the 'bottom line.' In MC&FP, our bottom line is taking care Image description. dodea button End of image description. of our people. In addition to working hard, I encourage you to take care of yourselves. Maintain a healthy attitude and take time off to avoid burnout. Work will Image description. deca button End of image description. always be there, so I encourage you to prioritize and include time for personal and professional pursuits. You'll feel better and be more productive. In this issue, we shine the spotlight on Janis White, Director of our Resale office. Commissary and exchange privileges are among the most prized Image description. AAFES button End of image description. benefits. With 225 commissaries and 550 exchanges worldwide, the two programs ensure a safe, economical, and secure shopping environment. They also bring a touch of home to those who serve around the globe. Image description. MCX button End of image description. Tommy T. Thomas Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Military Community & Family Policy Image description. NEX button End of image description. In This Issue ... Page 1 of 19
  2. 2. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 Image description. Armed Forces Retirement Home button End of image description. » Principal Director's Message » Director's Spotlight » Highlights » Headlines » MilitaryHOMEFRONT » Military OneSource » Good News Story » Chaplain's Corner » DoD Child Development Conference » EFMP Conference » Find Us on Facebook and Twitter » Moving with a Family » NG&R Task Force Update » Tax Help is on the Way » Working Quality of Life Issues » Submit a question or comment about this issue of the eMagazine Page 2 of 19
  3. 3. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 From the Principal Director... Image description. Photo of Mr. Myers End of image description. Each week I am impressed by the high level of productivity and energy of everyone at MC&FP. This, in concert with the work done by the military services and at the installation level, demonstrates unparalleled support and services. Special thanks to the military departments, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and House Armed Services Committee, and particularly their staffers for the outstanding support and assistance being provided. They have been the key ingredient in our effort to support and enhance the programs available to our military and civilian members and their families. While we have many programs in place, we are not complacent and continue to look for better and more efficient methods to enhance our programs and support our service members and their families. Thanks for all you do! Big advances are in store in the months ahead and another great adventure in 2010! Arthur J. Myers Principal Director, Military Community & Family Policy Page 3 of 19
  4. 4. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 Director's Spotlight - Janis White, Resale Activities This issue focuses on the Office of Resale Activities and Nonappropriated Fund Policy. Like its director, Janis White, this office isn’t very big, but it is very high energy. With a staff of five program analysts, the Office of Resale Activities and Nonappropriated Fund Policy covers a lot of territory in its portfolio: commissary and exchange benefits and programs; commissary, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR), lodging, and exchange construction; nonappropriated fund resource management; and nonappropriated fund procurement. In a typical week, this talented group juggles matters as wide- ranging as where to establish commissaries, what items can be sold in exchanges, who is allowed to shop in resale activities, the cost of telephone services in combat areas, the effect of joint basing on resale programs, benchmarking resale performance, and making certain that nonappropriated fund activities follow new credit card law. With many responsibilities that parallel other DoD, public, and private sector organizations, “Keeping vitality in these programs is a collaborative effort – as a policy office, sometimes we lead, other times we follow, and occasionally we just need to get out of the way of the program operators.” Known for strong working relationships within and outside the Department, Janis and her staff are always game for a new challenge and look for opportunities to improve these important benefits. One ongoing initiative is expanding outreach to better inform service members and their families about the income effect of the savings available in the commissary (over thirty percent) and exchange (over twenty percent). Efforts are also under way for more cross-promotion of the military community and family programs at the installation level. With a B.S. in Finance and Insurance from Virginia Tech and a MPA from American University, Janis joined the Headquarters Marine Corps staff in 1978 as a financial analyst for the MWR programs. After the Marine Corps merger of MWR and exchanges in 1988, she was selected as the chief financial officer for the consolidated organization. Following a two-year fellowship in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (1993-1995), Janis joined the Office of Resale Activities and was selected as the director in 1998. Page 4 of 19
  5. 5. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 Highlights November National Leadership Summit on Military Families By Cathann Kress As part of a larger family readiness planning process, Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) co-hosted a National Leadership Summit on Military Families with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of Maryland in Hyattsville. On November 9-10, 2009, more than 200 leaders, who provide support or determine policy impacting military families, convened at the University of Maryland to discuss the current status and future of military family support programs and to develop an action plan for the way ahead. Critical issues identified included: • access to services, e.g., right service at the right time; challenges for the geographically dispersed, etc. • consistency of services • communication • health care for special needs groups; TRICARE accessibility for Guard/Reserve • psychological health and the stigma of seeking and obtaining assistance • effects of military life/deployments on children • operations tempo • broader relocation issues The National Leadership Summit on Military Families was one part of an extensive strategic plan, culminating a process of assessing military family readiness programs in various venues throughout the year. Page 5 of 19
  6. 6. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 Headlines Respite Child Care Expands to All 50 States It's a few hours a month, but the break the Armed Services YMCA Respite Child Care program provides parents with a deployed spouse always is welcome. And since the program's nationwide expansion, many more parents will benefit. Official Calls Military Child Care 'Model for Nation' The Military Child Care Act of 1989 has made the military child care system the one to emulate. "We have come a long way," said Tommy T. Thomas, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, during the opening remarks of the department's annual child development conference. "The Department of Defense Child Development System is … a model for this nation." Thomas' statement echoes what President Bill Clinton said about the military's child development programs in 1997. Page 6 of 19
  7. 7. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 MilitaryHOMEFRONT Leadership Section Updated! MilitaryHOMEFRONT is pleased to announce the launch of our new Leadership section, designed especially to fit the needs of the leader throughout the Services. Users will find many improvements including a standardized taxonomy, making it easier to locate and access the information and resources contained in each topic area. • Policy and Legislation ◦ Legislation ◦ DoD Policies ◦ Service Regulations and Orders • Resources ◦ Support Services ◦ Additional Resources • Frequently Asked Questions In addition, understanding the demanding requirements placed on leadership, the information on each main topic homepage is written in the form of an information or point paper. This approach ensures leaders are provided with the most important information pertaining to a topic area in a clear, concise format. Finally, each homepage has a “Submit a Question” button at the bottom of each page. This feature allows leaders to obtain more information on a particular program from the Department of Defense Program Managers managing them. Page 7 of 19
  8. 8. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 Military OneSource By Aggie Byers On December 1, 2009, the Department of Defense (DoD) signed a new Military OneSource (MOS) contract to continue MOS services for the next five years. MOS provides members of the United States armed forces and their families, some 6 million persons worldwide, with a broad array of information, referral, and counseling services. These services are available through the Internet (, by telephone (toll free 1-800-342- 9647), and via email, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. US Navy user comment: “Well, I was stressed and I needed immediate results and I received it…Thank you and I am telling everyone I can about this service.” Telephones are answered by consultants with a Master's degree in Social Services (Social Work, Counseling, Psychology, etc.). Consultants are trained on military life-style issues and can provide help with parenting and child care, pre/post deployment and reunion issues, referrals to local counselors, crisis support, education, relocation, financial and legal concerns, emotional well- being, health and fitness, adult or child special needs, elder care, or obtaining local resources. US Marine Corps user comment: “I was VERY satisfied with the counselor that I was set up with. He was very knowledgeable and consistent in his concern with helping me through my issues. I feel much better now after going through counseling.” US Army user comment: “I spoke to a representative and she immediately gave me a contact for a counselor. The contact was done in about a day; I had an appointment within two days, which was on my timeframe, so that was very good.” MOS services address everything from common, everyday difficulties that a military family might face to life's most complicated situations. MOS also provides translation services in more than 140 languages, conversationally via telephone and through the translation of paperwork (i.e., rental agreements or utility bills from German or Italian into English). US Air Force user comment: “The staff was courteous, eager to help, returned my calls when they said they would, and helped me take care of everything I needed to take care of.” Highlights of MOS services provided during October 2009: NUMBER OF TELEPHONE CALLS IN OCTOBER 2009 – 75,212 HIGHEST NUMBER OF CALL ON A SINGLE DAY – 3,671 Top Five Caller Presenting Issues: • career planning • couples' relationships • stress management • financial aid and scholarships • applying to college NUMBER OF WEBSITE PAGE VIEWS IN OCTOBER 2009 - 2,597,485 Top Five Categories Visited: • college • parenting and child care • money management • careers • deployment Page 8 of 19
  9. 9. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 NUMBER OF IN-PERSON COUNSELING SESSIONS HELD IN OCTOBER 2009 – 19,301 NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS REFERRED TO IN-PERSON COUNSELING IN OCTOBER 2009 – 6,884 Top Five Counseling Issues: • couples' relationships • stress management • family relationships • depression/sadness • personal growth NUMBER OF EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS ORDERED – 101,280 Top Five Educational Topics Accessed Online: • deployment and return • colleges and universities • staying healthy • military benefits • military relocation Top Five Educational Articles Read Online: • Going Back to School When You Are a Military Spouse • What Military OneSource Can Do for You • Counseling Services Available Through Military OneSource • Armed Forces Tuition Assistance Program • Communicating as a Couple New Educational Materials Posted on the MOS Website in October 2009: • Coping with Compassion Fatigue as You Help in the Military Community • Homeschooling Resources for Military Families (English and Spanish) • Adopting a Child with Special Needs as a Military Family • Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA) SOCIAL MEDIA • Military OneSource Facebook - 10,375 Friends • TroopTube Views – 322,951 • TroopTube Videos Posted – 2,029 Page 9 of 19
  10. 10. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 Good News Story A Joint Family Support Assistance Program Military and Family Life Consultant (MFLC) recently received a request from a command for a consultation and recommendation for services. The Rear Commander of a deployed National Guard unit was working with his Commander in Iraq to address the needs of a service member who was on leave to manage some personal issues. The service member's spouse had also arranged for a family meeting with the local rotational MFLC on the installation. The MFLC worked closely with the service member and his spouse, the installation-based MFLC, the Rear Commander, his Commander in Iraq, the State Director of Psychological Health, and the service member's medical team. Together, they established a family plan to address the needs of both the service member and his spouse. As a direct result of this enormous collaborative effort, everyone is now confident that the service member will make a full recovery and will likely continue serving his country. Page 10 of 19
  11. 11. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 Chaplain's Corner Lessons from Dave Image description. Chaplain Image End of image description. Getting through the holidays with a positive and warm outlook is important! And starting a New Year with a fresh start is also important. As we embark on 2010, may I encourage you to cherish every day … even the tough and difficult ones. Living with the thought that each day matters can make a huge difference. Just ask someone who is near the end of his or her life. I urge all of us to make every day count. To live life to the fullest … to spend our lives wisely. Make sure to do this in 2010. A friend of mine has taught me much about this over the past year. Dave was diagnosed with one form of cancer in December 2008, only to receive a second diagnosis for an additional, more severe, form of cancer the following month. In June, he had his stomach removed and has been able to live off a special diet, only eating or drinking out of custom, not a necessity. Dave and his wife, Sherie, have four children. The children and grandchildren have been a large part of his life this past year. Ball games, hikes, trips to the coast, weekends away, have each made it special. Each day mattered. This became clear when my wife, Shelley, and I visited Dave and Sherie last April in their little apartment. As I write this, my friend Dave is nearing death. He is absolutely certain of his eternal state and shows no fear. His family has lovingly made arrangements for a funeral, to include a casket hand made by one of his sons. It's heart wrenching. But it's also hopeful. Why is it hopeful? Because Dave, for one, is showing us not only how to die, but how to live. He has lived a life in service to others as a missionary in Indonesia and in Russia. He has cherished his family. He has cultivated friendships. I don't want to see my friend die … but it's very probable that he will very soon. Instead of only dreading his death (which for Dave and me will be the ultimate healing, an eternity in heaven) I choose to learn from him how to live! The website that allows friends and colleagues to track Dave's health issues shows hundreds of posts from all over the world, from Asia to Europe, to his corner of the Pacific Northwest. His life has touched these people and they are letting him know. Let me challenge all of us to cherish each moment of 2010, embracing the bad and the good, and making a difference to others. For some of us, that is done out of service to God; for others, perhaps not. Make your time count. Dave has! Page 11 of 19
  12. 12. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 DoD Child Development Conference 2009 By Zuleika Hernandez The Department of Defense (DoD) hosted the Child Development Conference 2009 on November 16-18, 2009. Approximately 500 military child development professionals attended the event held in Arlington, Virginia. Highlights of the Conference included presentations from Nancy Duff Campbell, the co-president of the National Women's Law Center, and Dr. Joan Lombardi, the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families for the Department of Health and Human Services; a surprise visit from Sesame Street's Elmo and Rosita; a raffle with over seventy prizes from commercial sponsors; a Town Hall; and a Tribute Dinner. The Town Hall featured the Children and Youth Program Managers from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force, as well as the DoD Director of the Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth. After the panel's initial comments, conference attendees posed questions regarding the effect of multiple deployments on military families, child care expansion, turnover rates, and financial aid. The Tribute Dinner was a memorable event, honoring thirty-seven individuals who made significant contributions to the implementation of the Military Child Care Act (MCCA). The original member of Congress who sponsored the MCCA, Retired Congresswoman Beverly Byron, provided remarks prior to the recognition of the honorees. Ten breakout speakers presented on broad subjects, such as how Military OneSource can help military families and supporting young children through challenging times, and more specific topics, including conducting tours in child development centers and family care homes and supporting the inclusion of children with disabilities in military child care settings. The DoD Child Development Conference preceded the National Association for the Education of Young Children's (NAEYC) Annual Conference and Expo. At the NAEYC Conference, DoD and Service representatives had an exhibitor booth to provide attendees with information regarding working for military child care programs at installations around the world. Page 12 of 19
  13. 13. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 Joint Services Conference: Improving the Quality of Life for Military Families with Special Needs Over 275 family support providers attended the three-day DoD Joint Service Conference: Improving the Quality of Life for Military Families with Special Needs in Jacksonville, FL, November 16-18, 2009. The Conference was held in conjunction with the World Congress on Disabilities. Image description. BJ Camano End of image description. B.J. Camano, son of Lieutenant Commander Santiago Camano, opened the Conference with the national anthem. Dr. Rebecca Posante launched the Conference with a review of the history of legislation protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities. Her brief ended with information about the recently signed FY10 National Defense Authorization Act establishing a DoD Office of Community Support for Military Families with Special Needs, and expanding the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) to include family support across all Services to military families with special needs. A copy of the legislation can be found on MilitaryHOMERONT. A wide range of topics were addressed through both plenary and breakout sessions: • A panel of military families with special needs described the challenges they face and the services that were most helpful to them, and provided advice on how to best support military families with special needs. • Kelly Hruska, the Government Relations Deputy Director for the National Military Family Association, reviewed current legislation and discussed the way ahead. • Attendees were introduced to the new EFMP Image description. EFMP Logo End of image description. logo and were encouraged to use it to raise awareness of EFMP services. • Military OneSource announced a new partnership with the EFMP to support families with special needs. Specialized consultants, who have a background in, and are trained to address issues related to, special needs, can provide up to twelve consultations to military families who request this support by calling Military OneSource at 1- 800-342-9647. Following the Conference, more than 150 families accessed this service within the first month. Page 13 of 19
  14. 14. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 • Participants were introduced to two resources provided by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Family Member Program and available through Military OneSource: The Special Needs Parent Toolkit (for families with children who have a disability) and the Special Care Organizational Record (an organizer for families dealing with a complex medical condition). A post-Conference newsletter provided valuable information and resources, and is only the first of many to come. Please visit MilitaryHOMEFRONT to sign up for future newsletters. Family Matters Blog The American Forces Press Service publishes the Family Matters Blog to provide information and resources to military families. MC&FP Special Needs Family Support Program Manager, military spouse, and mother of an eighteen- year-old son with Autism, Isabel Hodge, is now a regular guest blogger. Isabel’s first Family Matters blog entry was published on December 24, 2009 and focused on deployments during the holidays. Her upcoming blogs will focus on being geographically separated and emergency preparedness. Page 14 of 19
  15. 15. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 Find Us on Facebook and Twitter We are pleased to announce that Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) has established a presence on both Facebook and Twitter. MC&FP understands that its audiences use a variety of communication channels including websites like MilitaryHOMEFRONT and Military OneSource, online newsletters and eMagazines and even print products. However, social media applications have become extremely popular vehicles for sharing information and resources. Social media platforms enable users to disseminate information quickly and widely, and many applications can be accessed not only by computer but also by many mobile devices. MC&FP's presence on both Facebook and Twitter allows the organization to communicate with its audiences in a whole new way, providing the latest Department of Defense initiatives, policy and program information. Instead of "pushing" information through traditional channels, social media allows participants to share their thoughts and ideas. This feedback provides valuable insight into what audiences are thinking about the array of Quality of Life programs offered through MC&FP. Image description. Facebook End of image description. Image description. Twitter End of image description. Page 15 of 19
  16. 16. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 A Few Tips for Moving with a Family Now that the holiday season is behind us, the military begins gearing up for the moving season. About one third of the force will receive permanent change of station (PCS) orders during 2010. For those service members with families, this means coming home and announcing it is time to say good bye and look forward to a new adventure. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a move and how to acknowledge your family’s needs and feelings during this potentially stressful time. Take charge of your move: Being fully prepared for a move is the best way to reduce relocation stress. As soon as you have orders, get a notebook/palm pilot or other small planning device, call it your "moving book," and start planning. Assess your financial situation, determine what you'll need, make inventories, establish a timetable, get information on the new location, and set aside some time to deal with your feelings. You can accomplish all of these tasks using Plan My Move's online moving tools. Let everybody plan: Let children be involved in the planning process for the new home so they will feel less helpless about the move. Talk it out: Sit down as a family and discuss your feelings about the move. Allow and encourage everyone to express their honest feelings, good and bad. Give plenty of tender loving care (TLC): Stress can negatively affect the body and the mind and make you more vulnerable to illness. Families need to give themselves a little extra "tender loving care" at moving time by eating the right foods and getting enough sleep. Give yourself a break: Each family member will handle stress differently. Don't ignore signals of stress (depression, anger, fatigue), but don't dwell on them either. Just be aware, be patient, and be willing to look for help if it is needed. Say your good-byes: It's important to deal with good-byes and express feelings of sadness so you can move on emotionally as well as physically. Keep familiar patterns: As much as possible, try to stick to the old routine such as mealtimes and bedtimes. Familiarity provides security. Explore the new environment: Get up, get out, and get involved. The best medicine for loneliness is people and the best way to overcome the feeling of being uprooted is to put down roots in the new location. Spending time exploring your new location using MilitaryINSTALLATIONS will help. Accentuate the positive: Make a list of things you're looking forward to about the new location and a list of good memories from the old. Take time to have some fun. Laughter can heal a lot of hurt. Keep an eye on the kids: Since moving can be traumatic for kids, staying in touch with new teachers is very important. Help your kids find ways to meet new friends but don't push. Even though most kids do adjust, it's essential for parents to watch for possible danger signals such as a child spending too much time alone, loss of interest in favorite things, loss of energy or appetite, or other behavior pattern changes. Be optimistic but stay flexible: Things rarely turn out just the way we imagine. An open mind and a determination to make your move a positive experience is your best insurance that you'll adjust well wherever you go. Change can mean opportunity if you reach out and take hold of it. Don't go it alone: Moving isn't easy and although you'll probably manage it well, there may be a time when you'll need some special support and assistance. You can find that support through your family center relocation personnel, Military OneSource counselors, your minister or rabbi, your neighbors, or the social services in your community. Page 16 of 19
  17. 17. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 National Guard and Reserve Task Force Update By Eva Shinka On May 19-20, 2009, the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (ODUSD) for Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) and Reserve Affairs (RA) sponsored a Guard and Reserve Task Force meeting to identify needs and make recommendations related to Guard and Reserve family programs and Yellow Ribbon Reintegration programs (YRRP). Task Force participants identified priority needs as well as recommended solutions. The following three initiatives are intended to aid in the development of consistent, high quality youth programs and services. The first initiative involves the development and distribution of Recreation Kits. MC&FP Morale, Welfare, and Recreation and Family Policy/Children and Youth Directorates collaborated with the National Guard, Reserve Family Program, and YRRP managers on an initiative that will provide all-age Recreation Kits to the National Guard State Family Program Directors (SFPDs)/Joint Family Support Assistance Programs (JFSAPs) in each state and territory, and as requested by Reserve points of contact. The kits will enhance recreation and social activities during deployment and family program events, including Operation Military Kids (OMK) activities. Six types of kits will be or have been sent to each state/territory in varying numbers based on National Guard and Reserve population, respective ages of children/youth, and geographic dispersion within the state/territory. The second initiative provides a deployment curriculum for use by volunteers. OMK teams and their partners support children and youth from all branches of Service during deployments. State OMK teams provide a cadre of volunteers to lead quality experiential learning experiences for youth that are keyed to life skill development. OMK has recently published a YRRP Curriculum for children and youth to be used during deployment events. The curriculum, developed by a group of military and civilian youth professionals, will enhance the life skills needed by youth to successfully navigate each stage of the deployment cycle. The OMK curriculum contains activities, designed for specific ages, to be used during four critical points in the deployment cycle: pre-deployment, during mobilization, and at thirty and sixty days after reintegration. The curriculum can be used by OMK volunteers, military Child and Youth professionals, and others. The third initiative provides added support through youth and resiliency programming. Project Y.E.S. college students will be used to support the needs of military families facing deployment. Specifically, Project Y.E.S. will expand the resources of the JFSAP and YRRPs and provide opportunities for students to give back to their communities and country with a year of service assisting youth during YRRP events. Project Y.E.S. (Youth Extension Service) will engage twenty collegiate 4-H members across the country for a year of voluntary service supporting military families. Collegiate youth trained on relevant curricula and activities will be deployed to different states and events to support Yellow Ribbon; OMK Ready, Set, Go!; and other training and events. These students will also be used to train collegiate 4-H groups to augment volunteer efforts in local communities. MC&FP will continue to work the After Actions from the Task Force meeting in order to provide increased support and quality programs to the National Guard and Reserve components and their families. Page 17 of 19
  18. 18. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 Tax Help is on the Way At No Cost to Military Families Starting January 18, 2010, Military OneSource brings military families our customized H&R Block At Home® online tax filing (formerly TaxCut), plus tax consultations by phone — completely free. On that date, the Military OneSource site will provide a link to the customized H&R Block At Home® product. Please wait until this link is posted on Military OneSource and use that link to access the customized product and create your account. A simple interview process quickly walks users through the return process, allowing complete electronic filing of federal and up to three state tax filings electronically. The H&R Block At Home® online filing process protects the security and confidentiality of personal information by using industry-recognized security safeguards, including firewalls coupled with security procedures to protect your information from loss, misuse, or unauthorized alteration. Whenever sensitive information is asked for, such as credit card numbers, it is encrypted as it is transmitted to the site. In addition to online tax filing, Military OneSource provides tax education and financial consulting phone at 1-800-342-9647. They also provide expertly prepared articles, like Filing Taxes When a Service Member is Deployed, and Quick Tips for Using Your Tax Refund, booklets, articles, and CDs on budgeting and personal finance; and online calculators that help with critical financial decisions. Go to and click on "Find information," then on"Money Management." Want to know more? Go to the "Tax Help is on the Way" outlet at and click on "Find out more." Page 18 of 19
  19. 19. MC&FP eMagazine (January,2010) 1/20/2010 WorkingQuality of Life Issues for Military Families Most military members don’t realize that many issues surrounding their quality of life and the well-being of their family can only be addressed by states. In 2004, the Department of Defense (DoD) started the USA4 Military Families initiative, worked through the DoD-State Liaison Office (DSLO), to engage state leaders about the issues impacting military members and their families. By developing state/military partnerships, the DoD seeks to work with states to remove unnecessary barriers and significantly improve the quality of life for military families. The USA4 Military Families initiative has been very successful and much progress has been made. A few of the more notable successes include the following: • The states have recognized the demands being placed on their citizens and have significantly increased their level of support for Guard and Reserve members and their families. In 2009, states report 1,470 separate items of support (such as licensure protection during deployment), an increase of 948 from their initial report in 2004. • In 2004, only eleven states considered a military move as an involuntary reason to leave employment thus allowing working military spouses to be eligible for unemployment compensation. Thirty-five states, impacting seventy-nine percent of military spouses, now offer this eligibility as military spouses leave their states. • In only two years, twenty-six states, positively impacting eighty-one percent of school-aged, military children, have now adopted the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children and become part of the Interstate Commission. This will minimize school disruption for military children as they move from one school district to another when their parents transfer between assignments. • Twenty-eight states can now fully enforce the DoD Regulation (32 CFR Part 232) which places a thirty-six percent APR limit on payday, vehicle title, and refund anticipation loans. The DSLO will continue the successful 2009 strategy into 2010, focusing on the ten key issues. For detailed information on any of these issues or to chart the progress being made throughout the year, visit USA4MilitaryFamilies. Image description. Link to Personnel and Readiness website End of image description. Image description. 508 compliance logo End of image description. Image description. Link to FirstGov Website End of image description. About MC&FP / MC&FP Websites / Privacy & Security / Disclaimer Release Page 19 of 19