Pentagon official blogs about resources during shutdown
WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2013 – Amid the government shutdown, service members and their families still must face the unique challenges associated with multiple moves and more than a decade of war, so a Pentagon official has listed available resources on the “DOD Live” blog.
Though Department of Defense Education Activity schools will remain open, wrote Rosemary Freitas Williams, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, the shutdown will affect quality of life, family support and child and youth programs.
“The government shutdown has affected a wide range of services, but we are doing all we can to maintain our covenant with the military community at the Department of Defense,” Williams said.
Operating statuses and schedules may vary at installation levels, but Williams provides advice and information on a variety of resources:
-- Child Development Centers: Contact the local CDC or installation for details and guidance.
– The Joint Family Support Assistance Program is fully operational and serves members and families from all components. It collaborates with military and family support resources to augment their activities and fill gaps where they exist. Services include nonmedical counseling and education to individuals, families and groups; child care location assistance; financial education; counseling; and on-demand support for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program and other deployment events. The program is tailored to the needs of geographically dispersed military families, including the National Guard and reserves.
-- The Military and Family Life Counselor program will continue uninterrupted and perform routine functions. Counselors who are unable to access the installation during the shutdown will work offsite until they can.
-- Military exchanges and commissaries are open worldwide.
-- Staffing will be determined at each installation for family support centers and family advocacy programs.
-- Morale, welfare and recreation programs, nonappropriated fund activities or other operations necessary to support “excepted activities” will continue, such as dining facilities operations, physical training, and child care activities required to support readiness.
-- Education centers for family members and service members will be closed, including counseling services, testing centers, learning centers and computer labs. Tuition assistance will not be authorized or granted for new classes.
-- No financial assistance requests for My Career Advancement Accounts (will be approved until further notice, but all spouses with a financial assistance requests approved before Oct. 1 will have their approved requests honored so they can attend class. Spouse Education and Career Opportunities counselors will continue to provide comprehensive education and career counseling services. Call the SECO Career Center at 800-342-9647 or visit the SECO website and continue to monitor the MyCAA portal for updates regarding when financial assistance will once again be available for approval.
“We recognize the incredible commitment and contribution of military families,” Williams wrote. “We are working with the military services to keep as many doors open as possible during the shutdown, operating within the fiscal guidance passed down from the highest levels of DOD leadership, so families may continue to be empowered and thrive amidst these most recent challenges.”