U.S. Coast Guard – Focused on America’s Military Families

Military spouses gathered in New Orleans last week to talk about issues and concerns involving military families. This gathering was held in conjunction with the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA), an organization composed of military officers from the three Sea Services. This is yet another example of how the President, through his policies and government agency actions reinforces the importance of “Joining Forces”. Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative sponsored by the First Lady and Dr. Biden. Joining Forces was developed to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

Coast Gaurd Spouses

During the meeting of NNOA spouses, Mrs. Linda Papp, spouse of the 24th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., talked about President Obama’s commitment to strengthen our military families. Mrs. Papp noted that support for military families is more than just a command responsibility, and encouraged attendees to help get the word out about available resources to military families. “We are the best support system for our military members,” said Papp.

Due to the nature of Coast Guard missions, many units are located in relatively remote locations, outside the practical reach of many family support systems. This requires targeted and innovative approaches to deliver services. The U.S. Coast Guard has embarked on a campaign to ensure that Coast Guard spouses located throughout America know what resources are available to them in dealing with challenges involving family well-being and psychological health, child education and development, career and educational opportunities for military spouses, and enhanced child care availability.

One example of this innovative approach targets families who do not have access to a military child development center. In this case, the Coast Guard provides a child care subsidy to families so they can use child care in their local area. Within the past year, the Coast Guard child care subsidy program was expanded to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for Coast Guard families. Now, more than 550 Coast Guard families nationwide participate in the subsidy program, a 40 percent expansion since 2011.

Additionally, this past May, the Coast Guard launched a new employee assistance program, CG SUPRT, that significantly enhanced services available to Coast Guard personnel, civilian employees, and military families. CG SUPRT provides confidential professional counseling, education, and referral services. Help is available for a wide-range of issues from marital and family problems, drug abuse, depression and anxiety, work-life balance, to work-related concerns and career issues. In addition to counseling, CG SUPRT provides health coaching, personal financial management assistance, wellness services, and legal assistance. Confidential help for such issues is available 24 hours a day.

Later this month, CG SUPRT (www.cgsuprt.com) will include a link to the White House Joining Forces website, http://www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces/

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