Once a servicemember is mobilized, family members may find they need assistance with a particular problem or be in need of general support. Regardless of which military branch the Reserve is serving in, family members can receive services from any military installation. What is available will vary according to installation staffing, active duty population, and geographical isolation. If you do not live near an installation, many of the services can be provided via the telephone and e-mail.
Family Assistance Center
The State Area Command (STARC) within the State National Guard Military Headquarters will usually activate a Family Assistance Center (FAC) when a reserve unit is mobilized. The FAC will provide current information concerning family support available within the state to include military, federal, state, and local civilian support to military family members. It will also provide government forms and assistance in filling them out. Check with your STARC to locate the FAC nearest you.
Fleet and Family Support Center
Active military bases have a Navy Fleet and Family Support Center, Marine Corps Community Service Center, Air Force Family Service Center or Army Community Service Center. Although names vary, most of the services are the same. Centers are staffed by highly trained human services professionals and volunteers. All programs are free of charge.
For more on the Navy Fleet and Family Support Center, click here.
Services offered by these service centers include:
Financial Management Assistance.
Professional counseling available regarding financial management including budget preparation, understanding the LES, investing, debt management, and credit management.
This program offers assistance to military members and their families in relocating from one installation to another. Provides useful and interesting information regarding local community and travel. Operates loan locker for basic necessities and SITES program (web-based information on world-wide military installations).
Exceptional Family Member Program.
Maintain and provide up-to-date information for families who have a special need family member. Information includes local special education programs and medically-related services available aboard base and in the community.
Information and Referral. This is the place to start if you are not sure of what you need. Will provide general assessment of situation or problem and make appropriate referrals to needed resources.
Career Resource Center. Seminars, classes, testing, and individual counseling available for vocational and career development. Provides information on local employment opportunities and educational programs. Service members and spouses are eligible for services.
Individual and Family Counseling. Professional counselors will provide confidential short-term counseling services, information, and referrals. Life skills classes and groups are generally offered.
Family Advocacy Program. Assistance is provided for situations involving child abuse, child neglect, or spouse abuse. Classes and groups geared toward preventing family problems are generally offered. Confidential victim advocacy is generally offered.
Retired Affairs. Provides benefits information for veterans.
AFAS is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to help relieve financial distress of Air Force members and their families and assist them in financing their higher education goals.
Active duty and retired Air Force members and their dependents are eligible for AFAS assistance, as are the dependents of deceased Air Force personnel who died on active duty or in retired status. Reservists and National Guard members serving on extended active duty over 30 days are eligible as well, but assistance is limited to emergencies incident to or resulting from the applicant's active duty tour.
Often in times of stress, it is best to get spiritual support. Take advantage of military chaplains and enlisted religious support personnel, who are there to help and serve military members and other authorized personnel.
For more, see the Chaplains section.
The Key Volunteer Network (KVN) is an official Marine Corps program whose mission is to be an integral part of the Commander's official family readiness program, and is the primary communication link between the commanding officer and unit families for the enhancement of mission readiness. The KVN is comprised of spouses of Marines within a unit who volunteer to assist the command in its family readiness program. The Key Volunteers and Key Volunteer Coordinator are appointed by the Commander and receive training in communication, information and referral, and other topics. Reflecting the Commanding Officer's guidance and policies, the Key Volunteer Network is formed within a unit to keep families better informed about the mission and tasks of that unit and to assist in establishing a sense of community among the unit families.
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is a private, nonprofit organization that helps the Navy and Marine Corps take care of their own. It may provide financial assistance for a variety of valid needs, ranging from the costs of setting up a household to disaster relief. However, the Relief Society does not assist with the purchase of nonessentials, nor does it supplement the income of persons who habitually live beyond their means. Interest-free loans, grants, or combinations of loans and grants may also be approved.
Food, rent, and utilities.
Help when disaster strikes
Personal needs when pay is delayed
Essential vehicle repairs.
Education loans for family members.
Visiting nurse for mothers of newborns, and housebound retirees.
Layettes for qualified families and "Budget for Baby" classes.
Active duty members, activated Reserve and Guard members, and their family members are eligible to seek legal aid and assistance from any military installation where there is a legal assistance office. A Legal Assistance Officer provides counseling and assistance with personal legal problems, claims services, and trial defense services. Legal advice and assistance available.
Wills, powers of attorney, and bills of sale.
Domestic relations (adoption, separation, nonsupport)
Change of name, notarizations, civil rights, depositions.
Citizenship, immigration, and passports.
Damage to personal property.
Referral to civilian lawyers when appropriate. For more on legal assistance, see Military Law.
Civilian and Community Resources
American Red Cross.
The American Red Cross aids sick and injured service personnel and their families in times of peace and conflict. It also provides social welfare services to needy military personnel and their families. The American Red Cross works closely with all services in providing and assisting in programs relating to the health, welfare, recreation, and morale of military personnel and their families.
American Red Cross services are provided by paid and volunteer staff at offices on military bases and in civilian communities through local American Red Cross chapters. Look in your local phone book to find the chapter nearest you. Some of the services provided by the American Red Cross are:
Health and welfare inquiries
Information, Referral, and advocacy
Humanitarian reassignment and hardship
Discharge review and correction of military records for veterans
Emergency financial assistance
Health and Safety Courses
Volunteer opportunities United Service Organization (USO). USO, a private civilian organization, offers centers away from military installations for the relaxation and recreating of service members and their families. Many of the USO centers have snack bars, game rooms, reading rooms, travel and tour centers and other recreational facilities. Some USO centers are located in major airports and provide sleeping berths for adults and children who are awaiting flights.
The USO also works with the Armed Forces to provide live entertainment shows for installation and hospitals in the United States and overseas. Many USO's also offer discount tickets for plays and movies, and can recommend places to stay overnight. The USO now includes help for military personnel and family members with various social problems such as drug abuse, family troubles, and financial stress.
Women, Infants & Children (WIC).
WIC is a food and nutrition program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. Local agencies deliver WIC benefits to participants. WIC helps prevent malnutrition in low-income pregnant females, breastfeeding mothers, new mothers, infants, and children up to the age of 5 years old who are at risk due to inadequate nutrition. WIC provides nutritious foods such as dairy products, beans, and peanut butter. Infants may receive iron-fortified formula, cereal, and juice. Participants receive coupons that they may redeem for food at retail stores which are authorized to accept WIC coupons. Nutritional education and referrals are provided.
WIC is free of cost for eligible participants. To determine eligibility and locate the nearest WIC clinic, call 1(800)345-1942.
State and Local Human Service Agencies
There are many federal, state, county, and local human service agencies that can provide assistance and information to help solve problems or provide information. Look for "Guide to Human Services" in your local phone book or ask the telephone operator for assistance. Examples of community resources include:
Department of Social Services
Public Health Department
United Way agencies