This Week In Military Community And Family Policy 29 Jan 2010

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This Week In Military Community And Family Policy 29 Jan 2010

  1. 1. PLEASE PASS TO ALL PERSONNEL Excerpts from the Remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama Joint Armed Forces Officers Wives Club Bolling Air Force Base Washington, DC January 26, 2010 Full text available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press- office/remarks-first-lady-joint-armed-forces-officers-wives-luncheon “It is such an honor to be with you... “The President and I and our daughters have been in the White House now for a year. As a mom, my priority has been the girls-making sure they made the transition as smoothly as possible: a new city, new house, new school, new friends. “And so when people ask me what I am most proud of this first year, I have two responses: As a mother I'm most proud that our two girls have adjusted and built a new life here and are happy and healthy. As First Lady, at the top of the list is the time I have spent highlighting the service of our incredible military families. “And that's what I want to talk about today. “I want to talk about what you do for America and what America needs to do for all of you. “From day one, this has been a mission of mine, along with the Vice President's wife, Dr. Jill Biden--a Blue Star mom herself-who's been a tireless advocate in support of our extraordinary National Guard and Reserve members and their families. “One of the first things Jill and I wanted to do was to listen and learn. So we held a series of roundtable discussions with military spouses... “These conversations gave us critical guidance and insight for our subsequent visits to bases and military communities around the country. And as I think back on all the incredible experiences of the past year, those visits have been one of my greatest privileges as First Lady. Through these interactions I have gained an even greater level of respect and gratitude for our troops and their amazing families. “And I will always remember all the wives and husbands, the moms and the dads, that the President and I have met at Arlington on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and all around the country: spouses who've lost their best friend in the world...parents who have laid their children to rest... “So at every one of these visits, my goal has been simple: First to listen: to their voices, to their concerns, to their needs. “Second, to share what I've heard with a team of dedicated leaders who also care deeply about military families-from the President and Vice
  2. 2. President to Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen to leaders down the chain of command. “And finally, to work hard to ensure that their concerns and needs actually lead to real change coming out of Washington. “The quality of the lives of our military and their families means a great deal because in the history of our all-volunteer force, we've never asked so much of so few. “We've seen the huge burden of eight years of war on our troops--tour after tour, year after year, missing out on moments that every parent treasures... “We've seen the sacrifices of families on the home front. Spouses back home left to do the parenting of two... “And somehow, despite everything that's going on in your lives, military families still find the time to serve others... “You just keep on serving--serving your communities, your country... “That's why my husband and his administration have worked to do right by our armed forces and their families: to be there for you like you have been there for us; to lighten your load as you have lightened ours. “Because of your willingness to advocate for change, some really important progress has been made in just one year. “Deborah Mullen has been telling me ever since we met that, just like our troops, our spouses also need the very best support and counseling. Many of you shared the need to reduce the stress of long deployments and to give our troops more time home between deployments. “That's why my husband moved to increase the size of the military. That's one of the reasons my husband's first budget included pay raises; funding for better military housing; more money for child care. in addition to more funds for career development, counseling and support for spouses. “Last year's budget also included money to improve care and treatment for our wounded warriors, especially those with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. “And the budget included major increases in funding for veterans health care, including women veterans, plus the largest percentage increase in the VA budget in more than 30 years. “And something I'm especially proud of-the President worked with Congress to extend the Family and Medical Leave Act to all our military families and to caregivers of our wounded warriors. Because just like other Americans, our military spouses need to care for their loved ones without fear of losing their jobs. “This commitment to our forces and their families continues today.
  3. 3. “I'm happy to announce that the President's 2011 budget that he'll introduce next week will further increase funding for military family support programs--by more than three percent-to a record $8.8 billion. “This includes additional increases in funds for counseling and support to spouses and families-including our Guard and Reserve families-to $1.9 billion. “It includes $1.3 billion to reduce shortages in military child care and to keep our military child care among the best this country has to offer. “Because we cannot forget that military kids also serve in their own special way. They're just like any other child in this country--except their lives are turned upside down every time their mom or dad is gone half-way around the world, risking their lives so that all our children can enjoy the freedoms of our democracy. It's so incredibly hard for these kids. As a result, they often experience more anxiety; they can have a harder time focusing at school; and they have a higher risk of depression. “So, we can never forget just how much these wars affect our military kids--and we all have an obligation to ensure they have the support they need at home and at school. “I'm proud to announce that this year's budget will include more money for youth programs for military kids. At the direction of Secretary Gates, the budget will also include funds to improve and build new DOD schools, from Georgia to Germany. It's part of a major effort over the next five years to renovate or replace more than half of our DOD schools, benefiting tens of thousands of children from military families. “In response to one of the top concerns expressed by military spouses, this year's budget will also include an $84 million increase in funding for spousal career development including tuition assistance and a federal internship program. “And, I want to thank all the Coast Guard spouses who spoke to me about housing challenges. “As a result, the President's budget will include $14 million in new funding for quality Coast Guard housing. “These are all major investments. They are the result of military families speaking up and being heard. And they are part of a larger ongoing commitment to care for our troops and their families even after the fighting ends. “But in addition to good government, supporting our troops and their families requires active citizens. That's why I've made it a priority to keep asking all Americans to join the cause of supporting our military families. “And it's why last Veterans Day, Jill Biden and I helped launch Mission
  4. 4. Serve--a national network that brings civilian and military service groups together to help support our troops and families. It also encourages communities to tap that incredible spirit of service of our military families, as well as the talents of our veterans. “We're asking Americans to engage and support military families any way they can--from business owners helping veterans and military spouses find a job or developing their skills, to professionals in areas such as mental health and the law offering their services pro bono, to ordinary folks doing simple things such as driving a carpool, offering to baby-sit or making a home-cooked meal for a family. “Our men and women in uniform and their families sacrifice for every single one of us, and every single one of us can do something in return, even if it's as simple as saying - thank you... “... as First Lady, I can't thank you all enough and I promise you that I will use every ounce of my being to make sure that America always takes care of you. “Thank you so much.” ----------------------------------------------------------------- Military OneSource Special Needs Resources for Military Families Webinar Special Needs Family Support Program Manager, Isabel Hodge, is conducting two Special Needs Resources For Military Families Webinars on February 23rd and 25th, 2010. Isabel is providing a comprehensive overview of government and non-government resources useful to military families with special needs. Additionally, Military OneSource Consultant and Coordinator of Clinical services, Cyndy Brissenden, will provide an overview of the MOS specialty consultants and other valuable MOS information. Interested family members should visit Military OneSource (http://www.militaryonesource.com) to register for the webinar. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Military Family Caucus The Military Family Caucus met on January 27 with the topic of the session military families with special needs. The panel of presenters included Mrs. Annette Conway, wife of the Commandant of the Marines Corps, who presented on the expanded Marine Corps EFM program. Additionally three military members who are fathers of children with disabilities discussed the hurdles they face as parents of children with disabilities. Mr. Arthur Myers, Principal Director of Military Community and Family Policy, indicated that the new DoD Office of Community Support for Military Families with Special Needs will address standardization of support across all of the Services. Dr. Rebecca Posante encouraged families with special needs to contact Military OneSource (1-800-342-9647) and arrange for individualized consultations with a specialty consultant. This service is available to all service members and their families no matter their location or Service affiliation.
  5. 5. ------------------------------------------------------------------- 2009 Exceptional Parent (EP) Resource Guides In mid-December, 2009, Military OneSource (MOS) received a donation of 5,000 EP Magazine Annual Resource Guides. The Resource Guide is a compendium of resources for families with special needs. Included are listings of national organizations, associations, products, and services that provide information and support for people with disabilities. All 5,000 Guides have been distributed to military families with special needs! EP is coordinating with MOS to ship an additional 7,000 EP Resource Guides for military families with special needs. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Military Families Gain Access to Free, Online Tutoring By Elaine Wilson American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2010 - The Defense Department has launched a free, online tutoring service for servicemembers and their families. The site – http://www.tutor.com/military -- offers round-the-clock professional tutors who can assist with homework, studying, test preparation, resume writing and more. Marine Corps and Army families have had access to the program for more than a year. Seeing the value, Defense Department officials decided to expand the service to encompass all servicemembers and their families, officials said. "Providing 24/7 academic and career support for military families during a time when so many parents have a deployed spouse has been an important and well-received benefit for Marine Corps and Army families," said Tommy T. Thomas, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy. "We are pleased to expand this program to all U.S. military families and provide peace of mind that their children are never alone when it comes to learning – there is always a certified, professional tutor available to help," he said. Active-duty servicemembers, National Guard and reserve personnel on active duty in a deployed status, Defense Department civilians in a deployed status and their dependents are eligible to participate, officials said. Along with test preparation, the site is open to students of any age – from kindergartners to high school seniors – for one-on-one help in math, science, social studies and English. Many of these students, officials said, are making the most of the live, one-on-one help. "Thanks for having this service when our family is separated at this time due to deployments and training," a 6th grader of a Marine commented. "My father is unable to help one-on-one."
  6. 6. "I really appreciate this," another program participant, a 9th grader, said. "It really helps me understand my schoolwork. It's going to really help me ace my exams coming up! I am definitely going to use this very often." Tutor.com's network includes more than 1,800 professional tutors and career specialists who have delivered more than 5 million one-on-one tutoring sessions since 2001, officials said. Each tutor is certified through the site, and all sessions are recorded for quality control. ------------------------------------------------------------------ On Site Commissary Sales DeCA is delivering the commissary benefit at the following Guard and Reserve location: Feb 5-7 Dobbins ARB Marrietta, GA OSD Support Provided to Units Deploying to Haiti. On 13 February, Military OneSource, Military Family Life Consultants (MFLCs), and Personal Financial Counselors (PFCs) will provide pre- deployment support to the 451st Civil Affairs Battalion that will deploy in February for approximately 6 months. The unit has requested program overview briefings; trainings; and information booths for Military OneSource; Military Family Life Consultants (MFLCs); and Personal Financial Counselors (PFCs). MFLCs and PFCs will also be available for counseling. On 27 February, Military OneSource, Military Family Life Consultants (MFLCs), and Personal Financial Counselors (PFCs) will provide pre- deployment support at 3 USAR events for QM units preparing to deploy to Haiti. The units requested program overview briefings and information booths for Military OneSource; Military Family Life Consultants (MFLCs) and Personal Financial Counselors (PFCs). MFLCs and PFCs will also be available for counseling. Commanders may request assistance or resources coordinated through the Joint Family Resource Center at 1-888-256-9920. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- DeCA Scholarship Deadline Approaching The February 17, 2010 deadline for students to apply for DeCA's 2010 Scholarships for Military Children Program is fast approaching. All eligible students encouraged to submit an application, which includes an essay on the following topic: "You can travel back in time, however, you cannot change events. What point in history would you visit and why?" Applications, essay, and eligibility requirements are available in commissaries worldwide and online through a link at http://www.commissaries.com and directly at http://www.militaryscholar.org. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
  7. 7. Exchange Facility Opening Navy Exchange Command plans to open the new Home & Garden Store in February at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. ------------------------------------------------------------------ 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development http://ase.tufts.edu/iaryd/researchPositive4H.htm The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development in the Applied Developmental Science Institute of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University is a longitudinal study sponsored by the National 4-H Council. A longitudinal study is used when researchers want to study changes within the same group of children every year. The study is now in its fifth year and is led by Richard M. Lerner and Jacqueline V. Lerner. There are about 4,000 diverse adolescents with varying levels of involvement in community-based programs, such as 4-H clubs, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, and Scouting that participate in this study. Researchers want to look at how positive influences in the lives of youth help protect them from getting involved in "problem behaviors", such as substance abuse, unsafe sex, school underachievement and failure, and delinquency and violence. The purpose of the research is to identify characteristics that are related to positive youth development. Some examples of these characteristics include having close friends and/or supportive adults in your life, receiving good grades in school, and having, overall, good feelings about yourself. Researchers have learned thus far that youth programs cannot remain static; they must address the diverse and changing needs and interests of adolescents and their families. Youth programs must address both prevention and promotion; contrary to popular belief, focusing on one does not necessarily affect the other. They hope to continue the study through Grade 12 and beyond. -------------------------------------------------------------------- Armed Forces Retirement Home Oversight Policy DoD Instruction 1000.gg “Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH)” has been signed and will soon be posted to the DoD Publications Web site. The Instruction establishes policies and assigns oversight responsibilities for AFRH in accordance with Chapter 10 of title 24, United States Code for management and oversight of the AFRH. AFRH is a one-of-a kind nationally accredited continuing care retirement facility for eligible veterans and is an independent Federal Agency in the Executive Branch, under Secretary of Defense oversight. AFRH provides health care, a variety of elder care programs, independent, assisting living and long term care residences, and related services. AFRH has two facilities: AFRH=Washington DC and AFRH Gulfport, MS. Gulfport was destroyed following Hurricane Katrina but a new state-of-the-art facility will open in October, 2010. ---------------------------------------------------------------------
  8. 8. Two important reminders for our Relocation Professionals: Brian Goodson Memorial Award The Worldwide Employee Relocation Council has established a memorial award in honor of the outstanding life and career of Ret. Major Brian Goodson, USMC. Brian was the relocation program manager at Marine Corps headquarters for over 15 years. The award will be given to a member of the military relocation community at the ERC National Spring Conference. Nominations are being accepted through February 15, 2010. To read more about the award visit http://www.worldwideerc.org/Events/Pages/nrc10-Brian-Goodson-Memorial- Award.aspx 12th Annual Joint Services/Agency/ERC Relocation Training Conference The 12th Annual Joint Services/Agency/ERC Relocation Training Conference: Moving Military Families: Challenges and Opportunities will be held May 17-21, 2010 in conjunction with the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council National Relocation Conference, visit this link and look for the Military Track on the lower right hand corner of the page http://www.worldwideerc.org/Events/Pages/nrc10.aspx. You can register for the conference and hotel from this link. The draft agenda is also posted. We still have room for a few more installation presentations at the conference. During the conference we are having a session (Cracker Barrel) where you can present a unique program or service to the attendees. If you would like to be part of the Cracker Barrel session, please contact Pamela.cunningham@osd.mil. ---------------------------------------------------------------- The 2009 DoDEA Teacher of the Year, Dorothy Goulet, will have a story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teacher Tales. This is the first book for teachers in more than a decade and contains a story from every single one of the 2009 State Teachers of the Year! Dorothy's story, "School Glue," is about a 14-year-old boy who acts out because his father has been deployed. He makes beautiful drawings which help him express his feelings. Dorothy discusses the Importance of recognizing that kids can have difficult home lives that can affect their behavior in school. There are 100 other great stories in the book too, some funny, some sad, and all great reads for teachers. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Ms. Juanita R. Worthy Pope will retire on January 29, 2010 after serving 34 years with the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). Pope began her career in May 1976 as a clerk-typist with the Recruitment Section when DoDEA was located in Rosslyn. Pope worked as a clerk-typist until she was later promoted to a position as a Personnel Assistant and worked with Team C in DoDEA’s Human Resources Division for a number of years. Since then, Pope has been in the Functional Automation & Info Mgmt Section (FAIMS) as a Management Technician. Pope also worked with U.S. Army Material Command in Alexandria for three years before coming to DoDEA.
  9. 9. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Parenting Tip of the Week The United States Fire Administration (USFA) reports that during a typical year, home electrical problems account for 67,800 fires, 485 deaths, and $868 million in property losses. The home appliances most often involved in electrical fires are electric stoves and ovens, dryers, central heating units, televisions, radios and record players. Here are some safety precautions that you can take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from electrical fires: • Never overload extension cords or wall sockets. Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker. Use safety closures to "child-proof" electrical outlets. • Use electrical extension cords wisely and don't overload them. • When buying electrical appliances look for products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). • Don't allow children to play with or around electrical appliances like space heaters, irons and hair dryers. • Check your electrical tools regularly for signs of wear. If the cords are frayed or cracked, replace them. Replace any tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or gives off smoke or sparks. Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. Remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family. Visit the USFA’s website for more information at www.usfa.dhs.gov. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Financial Tip of the Week When you prepare to file your tax return, there are two things that will factor into your tax situation: dependents and exemptions. Five important facts that you need to know about dependents and exemptions before filing your 2009 tax return. 1. If someone else claims you as a dependent, you may still be required to file your own tax return. Whether or not you must file a return depends on several factors, including the amount of your unearned, earned or gross income, your marital status, any special taxes you owe and, any advance Earned Income Tax Credit payments you received. 2. Exemptions reduce your taxable income. There are two types of exemptions: personal exemptions and exemptions for dependents. For each exemption you can deduct $3,650 on your 2009 tax return. Exemption amounts are reduced for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is above certain levels, depending on your filing status. 3. If you are a dependent, you may not claim an exemption. If someone else – such as your parent – claims you as a dependent, you may not claim your personal exemption on your own tax return.
  10. 10. 4. Your spouse is never considered your dependent. On a joint return, you may claim one exemption for yourself and one for your spouse. If you’re filing a separate return, you may claim the exemption for your spouse only if they had no gross income, are not filing a joint return, and were not the dependent of another taxpayer. 5. Some people cannot be claimed as your dependent. Generally, you may not claim a married person as a dependent if they file a joint return with their spouse. Also, to claim someone as a dependent, that person must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national or resident of Canada or Mexico for some part of the year. There is an exception to this rule for certain adopted children. See IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information for additional tests to determine who can be claimed as a dependent. For more information on exemptions, dependents and whether or not you or your dependent needs to file a tax return, see IRS Publication 501. The publication is available on IRS.gov or can be ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). Links: IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf ---------------------------------------------------------------- Getting support: . Commanders can request support and resources from the Joint Family Support Assistance Program by calling the Joint Family Resource Center at 1-888-256-9920. . Military OneSource: This free 24-hour service, provided by the Department of Defense, is available to all active duty, Guard, and Reserve members and their families. Consultants provide information and make referrals on a wide range of issues, including financial issues. You can reach the program by telephone at 1-800-342-9647 or through the Web site at www.militaryonesource.com . We are pleased to announce that beginning Monday, January 18, 2010, Military OneSource (MOS) will once again provide free tax filing services and free tax consultations to military service members and their families during the tax season. Visit the website or call the phone number above for more information. Have a great week. Your MC&FP Team!

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