This Week In Military Community & Family Policy 26 March 2010

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This Week In Military Community & Family Policy 26 March 2010

  1. 1. PLEASE PASS TO ALL PERSONNEL Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) eNewsletter The March edition of the EFMP eNewsletter (http://cs.mhf.dod.mil/content/dav/mhf/QOL-Library/MHF/255674.html) highlights the launch of new Special Needs content on Military OneSource and important information about the Computer/Electronics Accommodations Program (CAP) that will help improve patrons’ access to EFMP services. Valuable TRICARE information and a link to the new Special Care Organizational Record for Adults with Special Health Care Needs were also provided. --- Special Needs Materials (Update) As of March 19, 2010, military families with special needs and EFMP installation personnel have placed orders from Military OneSource for 512 hard copies of the Special Care Organizational Records for Children with Special Health Care Needs, and 711 DoD Special Needs Parent Tool Kits. --- Exceptional Parent (EP) Magazine EP Magazine (http://eparent.com) is a commercial magazine for parents of children or young adults with disabilities. The magazine includes a monthly military insert that features special needs articles that are beneficial for exceptional family members and wounded warriors. The March 2010 edition of EP magazine features an article written by Isabel Hodge. Isabel is the Special Needs/EFMP Family Support Program Manager for Military Community & Family Policy. The article titled, Defense Department Provides Exceptional Service to Exceptional Families, discusses the EFMP, the EFMP Awareness Campaign that is underway and many of the valuable resources that are available to military families with special needs from MilitaryHOMEFRONT and Military OneSource, such as the Special Care Organizational Record for Children with Special Health Care Needs. --- Positive Feedback for eSponsorship Application & Training(eSAT) The initial feedback for the eSponsorship Application & Training (http://apps.mhf.dod.mil/esat) since the application’s soft launch on March 10th has been outstanding and usage is exceeding expectations. In the initial week of usage over 75% of installations have tested the system and 7 installations have trained over 150 sponsors. Comments from users: “I just went through the whole process and what an awesome tool. A nice replacement for the paper versions.” “Thank-you-just FAB!”
  2. 2. “For the initial training portion, the program is great. The checklist is a good starting point.” “Went through the training and thought it was useful. I did however, believe that most was common sense. It is a good way to convey what is expected of a command sponsor though.” “I really liked the training. Took it. It was short, not overwhelming as online training could go, also liked the ability to add the person I would be sponsoring into the program.” This week, a series of reports were introduced to the application allowing installations to monitor the number of sponsors trained, view the communication flow between sponsor and newcomer and keep units informed. Installations can ensure that congratulation letters, needs assessments and welcome packages are sent in a timely fashion. --- Commissary Benefits. DeCA is delivering the benefit with on-site sales events at the following Guard and Reserve locations: March 29, 2010 Guard and Reserve Wailuku, HI --- National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2009 Reading Assessment Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) fourth and eighth grade students continued their strong performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2009 Reading Assessment. The NAEP was administered to all DoDEA fourth and eighth grade students from January to early March. DoDEA's domestic and overseas school systems participated in NAEP as a single jurisdiction. In 2009, the average score on the Reading Assessment for DoDEA’s fourth graders was 228. This score was not significantly different from their average score of 229 in 2007, but it was higher than the 2009 average score of 220 for their counterparts in public schools nationally. DoDEA’s eighth grade students’ average score for the NAEP 2009 Reading Assessment was 272. This score was not significantly different from their average score in 2007 of 273, and like their fourth grade colleagues, the DoDEA students’ 2009 average score was higher than the average score of 262 for public school students in the nation. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas. Assessments are conducted periodically in mathematics, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, and U.S. history. NAEP does not provide scores for individual students or schools; instead, it offers results regarding subject-matter achievement, instructional experiences, and school environment for populations of students (e.g., fourth-graders) and groups within those populations (e.g., female students, Hispanic students). NAEP results are based on a sample of student populations of interest. DoDEA students at both the fourth and eighth grade levels continued to
  3. 3. maintain their upward trend over the past 12 years in reading assessment scores. In 1998, DoDEA students’ average score on the NAEP Reading Assessment was 222 when compared to 228 in 2009. DoDEA eighth graders average score on the NAEP Reading Assessment in 1998 was 269; in 2009 the average score was 272. These results follow a national trend, with overall results for fourth graders in 2009 remaining on an upward trend. --- Freshman Nicole Perry of M.C. Perry High School in Iwakuni, Japan earned top honors at an awards ceremony held March 18 for finalists in the 30th Annual DoDEA Pacific Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Perry made her formal oral presentation titled "Environmental Products: Green or Mean" before nearly 100 of her peers and a panel of four judges including National Science foundation Tokyo Regional Office Director Dr. Machi Dilworth; NASA Attache with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo Justin Tilman; U.S. Coast Guard ENS Jessica Navarro; and 1983 DoDDS Pacific JSHS Champion Chris Zeitvogel. Perry bested 22 presentations delivered by fellow DoDEA Pacific high school students from Guam, Japan, South Korea and Okinawa to claim first place. The announcement was a pleasant surprise to Perry, "There were some great presentations given during JSHS, and I feel very honored that they thought my research was so good!" Her victory comes with a $2000 undergraduate tuition scholarship and a free trip to Bethesda, Md. at the end of April to compete on a national stage with 240 regional JSHS winners from all across the U.S. --- For the ninth consecutive year, the Quantico Middle/High School Marine Corps JROTC Drill Team took first place at the Mount Vernon High School (Alexandria, Va.) Invitational Drill Meet. The team competed Saturday, March 6, against eight teams from Virginia and Maryland, according to Quantico High School's Senior Marine Instructor retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Paul D. Roy. The Quantico MS/HS Drill Team also won the following awards: third place in the color guard; second place in drill with arms; first place in drill without arms; and first place in the personnel inspection and knowledge event. Quantico's Drill Team Commander Meredith Bell was selected as the "Most Outstanding Drill Team Commander." --- From AFN-Europe -- According to the Center of Disease Control, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. SSgt Jessica King shows us how kids at Aviano Air Base, Italy, are fighting that statistic through a special program. Weblink: http://www.afneurope.net/itemlink.aspx?itemId=12161 --- Take a look at this Pentagon Channel interview with Dr Miles about the Let's Move Program and more.... http://www.pentagonchannel.mil/?fr_chl=1fdf33d4d480109230f2fbd4c816a90a 9b3e8331&fr_story=15ee55ed33993475e799ec47dbbbcd7c6c9e969e
  4. 4. --- On Tuesday, March 23 the OSD FAP office was briefed by the Military Advocacy Program Coordinator for the Battered Women's Justice Project about a new project funded by the Dept. of Justice Office On Violence Against Women. The project: "Building Effective Civilian Responses to Military-Related Intimate Partner Violence" will (1) create a network of military and civilian advocates to improve victim advocacy in cases where the suspected abuser was on active duty, in the reserve component, or is a veteran; (2) identify and provide technical assistance to two communities where the civilian and military leadership wish to create a coordinated community response to domestic violence; and (3) develop a coordinated approach for communities to address incidents in which the domestic violence co-occurs with combat-related PTSD. --- Financial Tips of the Week Blank Checks from Your Credit Card Issuer Carry Risks and Costs Those blank "convenience checks" from your credit card company offer a quick way to write yourself a loan, pay bills or transfer other loans to your credit card account. But be aware that the use of a convenience check is a "cash advance" that comes with high costs and other potential pitfalls. • Take precautions to avoid serious fees and penalties if there's a glitch when you deposit a convenience check into your checking account or send it to pay a bill. Before you write a check, make sure that it will not put you over your limit for cash advances. Also find out what the current limit is in case your credit company reduced the amount you may borrow on your card through cash advances and you forgot or did not notice. "If the convenience check puts your card balance over the new limit, your card issuer may not honor the check," said Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the FDIC's Community Outreach Section. "The returned check could trigger overdraft fees from your bank, returned- check fees from others and over-limit fees from your card issuer." His recommendations: "Understand when your card company might not honor a check. Consider calling your card company to verify your understanding of its policies," Reynolds said. "In addition, you may want to call your credit card company again after you deposit the check into your bank and before you spend any of that money, to make sure the card issuer has honored the check." • Know the fees and the interest rate you'll pay. Expect to incur a transaction fee of several percent of the amount of each check. If the fee is five percent, you'd pay $50 to write a check for $1,000. In addition, the interest rate on this loan to yourself can be much higher than the rate on your card purchases, perhaps twice as high. Most consumers believe that they will pay off the debt before the introductory rate expires, but many find they can't. Also consider that you may not be allowed an interest-free period to pay the loan without interest accruing. "Most lenders will begin charging interest when the check posts to your account, even if they otherwise give you at least a couple of weeks to repay your credit card purchases interest-free," said Irma Matias, an FDIC Community Affairs Specialist.
  5. 5. Even if you are offered a low interest rate initially, find out what interest rate you will pay when the introductory period is over. And, think twice about repeatedly transferring balances from one credit card to another, because you could end up paying costly fees that more than offset the attractive, promotional interest rate. • Remember that there may be fewer consumer protections when making purchases with convenience checks. When you use your credit card for purchases, the Fair Credit Billing Act gives you the ability, under certain circumstances, to withhold payment on defective goods until the problem has been corrected. That protection doesn't exist with convenience checks, even though they are related to your credit card account. Also, with convenience checks, you may not receive any rebates or points as you would using a credit card. • Look for and shred convenience checks you don't plan to use. "Dishonest friends, family members or workers around the house have found convenience checks very convenient for getting a loan without going through the hassle of asking," said David M. Nelson, a fraud examiner in the FDIC's Financial Crimes Section. "Also remember that thieves rummage through trash looking for valuable papers such as convenience checks and bank statements, so do your best to shred these documents before you toss them away. • Consider asking your card issuer to stop mailing you convenience checks if you're sure you don't want them. "This saves paper, avoids the risk the checks might be stolen from your mailbox or home, and helps discourage you from turning to the checks as an easy fix," said Reynolds. "Convenience checks can be expensive and many consumers find that they should be used sparingly, if at all." Federal Deposit Insurance Cooperation (FDIC) offers Consumer Tips At any age or stage in life, it's important to stay informed about ways to save and protect your money. The Federal Deposit Insurance Cooperation (FDIC) – a close partner with DoD for financial readiness matters - recently announced that the agency has begun regularly delivery of timely tips on money management on the agency's Web site and through an e-mail subscription service. FDIC firmly believes in helping people of all ages exercise their consumer rights. <http://consumer.gov/ncpw/blog/> "Consumer education is already a big part of what the FDIC does to increase the public's knowledge of financial issues," said FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair. "We believe this new service - delivering simple, practical tips on an ongoing basis over the Internet - will make it easier and more convenient for people to stay informed about issues that may affect their financial decisions." Chairman Bair added, "The FDIC also is proud to be one of the national organizers of National Consumer Protection Week and to support this year's message that we all can become knowledgeable and empowered consumers." The tips are provided on a weekly basis as the FDIC "Consumer Tip of the Week. "Topics range from saving and borrowing money to protecting money with FDIC insurance and avoiding financial fraud. The FDIC's "Consumer Tip of the Week" may be found at www.fdic.gov/consumertips. Consumers, members of the media, financial educators and anyone else interested in receiving the tips automatically in e-mails should subscribe to the "Consumer Tip of the Week" using the e-mail update link on this Web page. For more information about the FDIC's educational programs and service for consumers, including a toll-free Call Center, free videos and brochures, current and past issues of FDIC
  6. 6. Consumer News (including the Spring 2008 special edition entitled "Money Tips for All Ages: Your Finances at Different Stages of Life"), and the Money Smart financial education curriculum (one version for adults and one for young adults), visit www.fdic.gov <https://fastaccess.fdic.gov/,DanaInfo=www.fdic.gov+> or call 1-877- ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342). The FDIC also has added a special Web page about National Consumer Protection Week at www.fdic.gov/ncpw <https://fastaccess.fdic.gov/,DanaInfo=www.fdic.gov+ncpw> that features quick links to several of the agency's products for consumers. --- Parenting Tip of the Week Spring break is family time. You deserve a vacation free from hassles. Plan ahead so your family getaway is enjoyable and fun for everyone. Pack smart, drive safely, and eat healthy. Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: • Buckle up. On a road trip, everyone needs to be buckled in securely. Child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers ages 1 to 4 years. Seats should fit body size and be installed properly. • Families that play together, stay together. Families should develop their own system for staying together, particularly if they are going into theme parks and other crowded areas. Parents can determine a comfortable level of independence based on the age and maturity of each child, but everyone should know what to do if separated from the group. Caution your children about talking to strangers. • Prevention can be travel-sized. A family vacation can turn into a nightmare if someone gets sick. To handle such situations, pack common medications, such as antibiotics, allergy tablets, first aid supplies, and hand sanitizers. Insect repellent and anti-diarrheal medicine are musts. Keep your pediatrician's phone number handy in case of an emergency. • Most importantly, relax and have a good time. Kids recognize when parents are tense or nervous, so plan ahead to avoid problems. For more Spring Break travel tips, please visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/FamilyTravel/ --- Nutrition Tip of the Week What's a serving of bread? Make half your grains whole, but know your serving size. One serving from the grain group is a one-ounce equivalent. In general that's one regular slice of bread, " an English muffin, ½ a hotdog or hamburger bun, or 1 "mini" bagel. A large "jumbo" bagel (about 4 ounces) counts as 4 servings from the grain group. For more information on making healthy and nutritious food choices, check out the Commissary’s website at http://www.commissaries.com/ <http://www.commissaries.com/> --- Military Spouse Tip of the Week
  7. 7. Make Yourself at Home - If you’ve recently PCS’d, take a break from unpacking and listen to audio tips from military spouse Jacey Eckhart. After countless moves, she’s become a pro at turning military housing into a home. Visit www.militaryonesource.com to access the audio recordings. --- 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 . Military OneSource (MOS) continues 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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