"Tool Kit" Open for Reserve, Active Duty Family Use
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2001 Service members being called up for active service or those deploying have a new tool kit to help their families, a DoD reserve affairs official said.
The Guard and Reserve Family Readiness Programs Toolkit is available as a printed product and also is available on the Internet at www.defenselink.mil/ra/family/toolkit/.
"It is a comprehensive set of resources," said Army Col. James L. Scott II, director of individual and family support policy at DoD's reserve affairs. "It's a set of tools that commanders, members, family members and family program directors or managers and the support group directors of managers can use to assist them in preparing units for the separations that take place during mobilization and deployment."
President Bush's Sept. 14 order calling up to 50,000 reservists to active duty means the tools could be a vast help to deploying service members responding to the terrorist threats, Scott said. Though aimed at reserve component members, active duty service members will also find the information helpful, he added.
The tool kit is a standardized pre-deployment and mobilization handbook. It is an attempt to standardize information between services and the reserve components so they can all use the same language when they talk about deployment preparations, Scott said.
Some of the items in the kit are family readiness groups, publishing newsletters, crisis intervention, family care plans and so on.
One specific tool is a workbook-type section on family financial management planning. The workbook asks a series of questions and gives service members a series of options. It also gives helpful hints like making sure all your important financial documents -- mortgages, bank accounts, savings bonds -- are in safe, fireproof locations and that they are accessible to another family member or friend.
The kit grew out of the Family Strategic Readiness Plan, Scott said. The plan seeks to ensure that military family care systems, networks and organizations adequately serve reserve component families.
With the tool kit is another helpful Web site, the Guard and Reserve Family Readiness Schedule of Events at www.defenselink.mil/ra/calendar/. [link no longer available] It's a calendar designed to provide places for family readiness training across the services. Those interested can search the calendar for training opportunities near them.
Finally, the site also has a Guide to Reserve Family Member Benefits at http://dod.mil/ra/documents/family/benefits.pdf. This booklet explains what military benefits are available, including medical and dental benefits, commissary and exchange privileges, military pay and allowances and re- employment rights.