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Army Community Service

ACS invites you into a world of education, opportunity and discovery while offering programs and services that promote self-reliance, resilience, and stability during war and peace.

View the many programs and services ACS has to offer by searching the Community Support tab.

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Army Emergency Relief (AER) Overview

Overview

Army Emergency Relief is the U.S. Army's own nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating financial distress on the force. AER provides grants and zero-interest loans to Active Duty and Retired Soldiers and their Families. Over 4 million Soldiers supported since 1942. AER officers are conveniently located at installations around the world. Visit ArmyEmergencyRelief.org to learn more.

Education Programs

AER’s Education Program is a secondary mission to help Army Families with the costs of education. The three separate scholarship programs are:

Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program
• Applicant must be the Spouse or widow(er) of an active duty or retired Soldier and reside in the United States. 
• Stateside applicants must be full time students. 
• First undergraduate degrees only.
• Active duty military personnel are not eligible.

Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program Major General James Ursano Scholarship Fund for Dependent Children.

Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program 
• Applicants must be a Spouse of an active duty Soldier assigned in Europe, Korea, Japan, or Okinawa. 
• Applicants must physically reside with the Soldier at the assigned location. 
• First undergraduate degrees only.
• Off post students are not eligible.
• Spouses may be part time or full time students.

Major General James Ursano Scholarship Fund for Dependant Children 
• Dependent children, stepchildren, or legally adopted children of Army Soldiers on active duty, retired or deceased while in active duty or retired status.

The children of Grey Area Reservists/National Guard are eligible as well.

Scholarship awards will be awarded up to half the cost of tuition. Scholarship awards are based on financial need, as evidenced by income, assets, Family size, and special circumstances.

Applications and instructions are available for all the scholarships on the AER website at https://www.armyemergencyrelief.org/resources/

AER Resources and Forms

View all AER forms. 

Army Family Action Plan

The Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) is your platform to voice quality-of-life issues, feedback, ideas, and suggestions. It’s the best way to let Army leadership know about what works, what doesn’t, and how you think problems can be resolved. We give Active and Reserve Component Soldiers, Army Civilians, Retirees, Survivors, and Family members a primary tool to help identify issues and concerns and shape your standards of living.

You can submit issues at your garrison’s Army Community Service office or to a unit Family Programs liaison. Army OneSource also facilitates AFAP issues online and makes sure your concerns get the attention they deserve. The information you submit gives Army leadership insight and helps foster a satisfied, informed, and resilient Army Community.

AFAP makes a meaningful difference. Since AFAP was created in 1983, over 698 issues have been submitted, resulting in 128 legislative changes, 186 Department of Defense or Army policy changes, and 210 improved programs or services.

Here’s a sample of AFAP results:  

  • Dedicated Special Needs Space in Child, Youth, and School Services (CYSS)
  • Distribution of Montgomery GI Bill benefits to dependents  
  • Annual Leave carryover increase from 60 to 75 days 
  • Extended educational benefits for Spouses
  • Dental and visual insurance coverage for Federal Employees
  • Medical Coverage for Activated Reserve Component Families
  • Military pay table (targeted pay raises) 
  • Military Thrift Savings Plan 
  • TRICARE for Life for eligible Retirees
  • Funding for Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (B.O.S.S.)
  • Active Duty Enlisted Soldier Compassionate Reassignment Stabilization
  • SGLI increases
  • Minimum standards for Army Child Care
  • In-state tuition for Military Dependents

To submit an issue or suggestion, go to your local Army Community Service office or Army OneSource.

EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program)

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) provides comprehensive support to family members with special needs. EFMP takes an all-inclusive approach to coordinate military and civilian community, educational, medical, housing, and personnel services to help Soldiers and their Families with special needs.

An Exceptional Family Member is a Family member with any physical, emotional, developmental, or intellectual disorder that requires special treatment, therapy, education, training, or counseling, and meets the eligibility criteria. 

Soldiers* with Exceptional Family Members are required to register for EFMP and keep enrollment information current. This way, Family needs will be considered during the OCONUS assignments process.

If you’re eligible for EFMP services, Family members must be screened and enrolled when they accompany authorized Soldiers on OCONUS assignments. Screenings include medical records review for all Family members and developmental screening for all children aged 72 months and younger.

For more information about EFMP, contact the EFMP point of contact through your nearest Army medical treatment facility.

*Who must enroll in the program?

      (1) Active Army

      (2) U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) Soldiers in the Active Guard Reserve (AGR) Program

      (3) Army National Guard (ARNG) AGR personnel serving under authority of 10 USC and 32 USC.

Department of the Army civilian employees do not enroll in the program.

You must identify dependent children with special education and medically related service needs and, Family members with medical needs each time they process for an assignment to a location outside the United States, where Family member travel is authorized at government expense.

Financial Readiness

The Financial Readiness Program is your resource for information on money matters. We can help you better understand financial topics like: 

  • Military pay
  • Checkbook/debit card management
  • Financial responsibility
  • Credit reporting
  • Debt elimination strategies
  • Saving
  • Investing
  • Budgeting

 

We can also help you learn about other financial services, including:

  • Army Emergency Relief (AER): Army Emergency Relief is the U.S. Army's own nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating financial distress on the force. AER provides grants and zero-interest loans to Active Duty and Retired Soldiers and their Families. Over 4 million Soldiers supported since 1942. AER officers are conveniently located at installations around the world. Visit ArmyEmergencyRelief.org to learn more."
  • Education Program: Offers need-based scholarships to help eligible Army Families with education costs.

For more information about how the Financial Readiness Program can help you, contact your nearest Army Community Service Center.

 

Other helpful financial readiness links include:

  • Thrift Savings Plan: A Federal Government-sponsored long-term retirement savings and investment plan, available for both Federal civilian employees and members of the uniformed services.
  • U.S. Savings Bonds: A shorter-term savings option with competitive interest rates and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.
  • Military Saves: A component of the nonprofit America Saves and a partner in the Department of Defense’s Financial Readiness Campaign, Military Saves seeks to motivate, support, and encourage military Families to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.
  • Money Matters: A mobile-optimized resource with calculators for savings, debt reduction and other reference material in one location.
  • Housing Resources for Military Members: The National Military Family Association has compiled a great list of resources to help Military Families who are struggling with the pitfalls of the housing crisis.
  • Army OneSource: Network of the services and delivery of support to Soldiers and their Families.
  • Military OneSource: A Department of Defense-funded program that provides comprehensive information on every aspect of military life at no cost to active duty, National Guard, reserve members, and their Families.
  • Office of Servicemember Affairs: A component of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helps to educate and empower military members, veterans, and their Families in the consumer financial marketplace.
  • Saveandinvest.org: A project of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, a free, unbiased resource dedicated to your financial health. Helps you make informed decisions through easy-to-use tools and resources, and arms you with the information you need to protect yourself from investment fraud.
  • Better Business Bureau Military Line: Provides specialized education and support services, which meet the needs of active and retired military personnel and their Families. 

 

Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA) Pre-screening

Pre-screening and counseling for Soldiers who qualify for the FSSA entitlement. FSSA is an entitlement authorized by Congress in 2001 and created to supplement the Soldier's Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS). This entitlement will not exceed $1100 per month. Information and application for FSSA is web-based and can be found under the "Life Events that Impact Your Benefits" tab.

New Parent Support Program

The New Parent Support Program (NPSP) promotes healthy Families through a variety of services including home visits, support groups, and parenting classes. We help Soldiers and Families learn to cope with stress, isolation, post-deployment reunions, and the everyday demands of parenthood. Army Families who are expecting a child or who have children up to age three can participate in all of our services confidentially and free of charge. 

Each installation has developed unique New Parent Support Program services that include:

  • Home visits: Scheduled at your convenience, home visits bring you education and reassurance right to your own home on many topics, including breastfeeding, sleeping, nutrition, potty training, age-appropriate discipline, developmental screenings, sibling rivalry, stress management, deployment issues, and time management. NPSP-Home Visitors are supportive and caring licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) or registered nurses (RNs). They have extensive experience working with young children and are sensitive to your unique challenges as a military Family.
  • Expectant Parent Workshop: Helps to provide valuable information about pregnancy and postpartum health, basic infant care, infant massage, parenting skills, safety, discipline, stress management, deployment issues, and community resources.
  • Play groups: Scheduled regularly at installations, they help children learn through play in a supportive atmosphere that benefits parents as well. Activities include story time, crafts, and music.
  • Military Homefront: A free weekly parenting email with support, tips and advice, updates about your baby’s developmental milestones, and other great information curated just for you.

Contact your installation Army Community Service (ACS) Family Advocacy Program for more information. You can also call Military OneSource for more information and referrals (CONUS: +1 (800)342-9647; OCONUS: 00-800-3429-6477; To call collect with operator assistance OCONUS: +1 (484)530-5908.

Relocation Readiness Program

Moving is a part of life for Soldiers, civilian government employees and their Families. The Army Community Service Relocation Readiness Program is here to help with a comprehensive support system, whether it’s your first move or the last of many. We have all kinds of information and resources to help you and your family navigate your next military move.

Your first stop should be your local Army Community Service Family center to meet with a Relocation Readiness Program Manager who can get you started.

SHARP (Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program)

The Armed Forces’ Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program is the Armed Forces’ integrated, proactive effort to end the crimes of sexual harassment and sexual assault within our ranks. Sexual harassment and sexual assault have no place in the Armed Forces. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault, you have a voice, you have rights, and we’re here to help.

 

The Armed Forces’ SHARP Program also:

  • Permeates the Armed Forces structure from the Pentagon down to the individual Soldier level.
  • Has full-time military and civilian staff at the brigade level and higher.
  • Promotes cultural change across the Armed Forces, with a vision toward a culture of dignity and respect in which Soldiers, Civilians and Family Members intervene in potential situations that could result in sexual harassment and sexual assault to protect one another.
  • Includes a comprehensive effort to educate leaders and Soldiers about sexual harassment and sexual assault.
  • Employs a concrete training program that teaches Soldiers and Civilians to be alert to serial offender tactics, to intervene to stop incidents and disrupt offenders, and where and how to seek help.
  • Provides commanders with the essential resources, education, and training they need to succeed in bringing an end to sexual harassment and sexual assault within their units and build a command culture in which these crimes are not tolerated.

 

We have certified Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs) and Victim Advocates (VAs) available 24/7 to help with reporting, victim support, prevention, training, and awareness efforts.

For more information about SHARP, visit sexualassault.army.mil.

 

More Helpful Resources:

  • U.S. Armed Forces Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Program
  • U.S. DoD Sexual Assault Prevention & Response
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: +1 (800)656-HOPE (4673) 
  • Center for Sex Offender Management 
  • Men Can Stop Rape +1(202) 265-6530
  • National Center on Domestic & Sexual Violence (military resources) +1 (512)407-9020 
  • National Sexual Violence Resource Center +1 (877)739-3895
  • Rape Abuse & Incest National Network +1 (800)656-4673 ext. 3 
  • Rape & Sexual Assault: Reporting to Police & Medical Attention, 1992-2000, Bureau of Justice Statistics, US DoJ
  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Response Team
  • Sexual Assault State Coalitions
Soldier and Family Assistance Center

The Soldier and Family Assistance Center (SFAC) is a one-stop location built to equip and aid Wounded, Ill, and Injured Soldiers who are assigned or attached to Warrior Transition Units. SFAC services help these Soldiers make life-changing decisions as they transition back to duty or on to civilian life. We strive to deliver tailored, compassionate, and coordinated transitional services designed to promote self-reliance, wellness, and healing during their medical recuperation and transition. The facilities provide a warm, relaxed environment where Soldiers and their Families can gather to foster physical, spiritual, and mental healing.

 

The SFAC coordinates and refers services like:

  • Information and Referral assistance: Provides reception services and general orientation.
  • Military Personnel Services: Help coordinate military records and information, as well as identification cards and records management, where available.
  • Entitlement and Benefits services: Help with education plans, benefits review, Family member education support, and other career-enhancing information.
  • Soldier for Life: A Transition Assistance Program that supports mandatory Transition requirements and services.
  • Financial Counseling: Provides credit management, budget development, consumer information and awareness, financial counseling and assistance. It also provides emergency financial assistance in the form of loans or grants, and monetary assistance for undergraduate education for dependent children.
  • Substance Abuse information and referral for Family members.
  • Coordination of Legal and Pastoral Services.
  • Help to find lodging resources for Family members.
  • Child Care Referral provides registration services for all Child, Youth, and School Services programs including Sports and Family Child Care (FCC) homes.
  • Coordination with Army Reserve, National Guard, and State and Local Agencies.

If you’d like more information or need help, contact an SFAC Representative.

Wounded, Ill, and Injured Soldiers and their Families expect and deserve the very best care and leadership from America’s Army.

 

Survivor Outreach Services

Our Fallen Soldiers have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Their Families deserve our respect, gratitude, and the very best we can provide. If you’re a surviving Family member, Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) offers you access to support, information, and services, closest to where you live, when you need it and for as long as you need it.

Survivor Outreach Services is part of the Army Casualty Continuum of Care. It’s designed to provide long-term support to surviving Families of Fallen Soldiers. Our goal is to reassure Survivors that they remain valued members of the Army Family.

Survivor Outreach Services helps in many ways:

  • Support Coordinators. The loss of a loved one often results in tremendous grief, which can be overwhelming. When faced with a tragedy, you may be wondering what direction to take. Your SOS Coordinator is your link to finding the resources and answers that will work best for you. Your local Support Coordinator is available to meet with you as you journey through this difficult transition by providing direct services as well as information, referrals, and recommendations. He or she can also connect you with support groups, spiritual resources, and bereavement and financial counselors. Your SOS Coordinator can also help you request and obtain copies of documents, navigate local, state, and federal agencies, and direct you to additional Survivor resources.
  • Financial Counselors. In times of emotional distress, figuring out what to do about finances can create a heavy burden. Survivor Outreach Services Financial Counselors provide professional financial information and services in areas such as investing, estate planning, tax issues, and basic budgeting. Our Financial Counselors are committed to helping you create financial security. They also help ensure you get the information you need to make sound financial decisions.
  • Gold Star Advocates provide support and address complaints about casualty assistance or receipt of benefits.

For more information about Army Survivor Outreach Services, or to locate your nearest SOS Coordinator, call toll-free +1 (855)707-2769.

To learn about the symbols of honor surviving military families wear, visit www.GoldStarPins.org.

Victim Advocacy Program

The Victim Advocacy Program (VAP) provides emergency and follow-up support services to adult victims of domestic abuse. Advocacy services are available to Service members, their current or former spouses, an individual with whom the Service member shares a child, and significant others of Service members who live together. Our services are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Our trained professionals are here for crisis response, information on reporting options, medical treatment options, law enforcement’s response, emergency services, safety planning, obtaining military and civilian protective orders, and accompaniment to medical forensic exams and medical appointments, as well as accompaniment to court for orders of protection hearings and trials. Advocates work closely with their civilian counterparts and ensure a personal and smooth transition for victims who do not qualify for ongoing advocacy services within the military community.

If you need help or want more information, contact the Victim Advocacy Program Manager at your local Army Community Service Center.

Reporting Options

The Army is fully committed to ensuring victims of domestic abuse are protected; treated with dignity and respect; and provided support, advocacy and care. The Army strongly supports effective command awareness and prevention programs, and holding offenders accountable.

There are two types of reporting options: Restricted Reporting and Unrestricted Reporting. Personnel should report all suspected cases of domestic abuse promptly, which quickly activates victim services and accountability actions. However, we understand things might not always work that way. Victims might need medical attention or victim services without command or a law enforcement response. Therefore, the Army has implemented a Restricted Reporting Option for victims to confidentially disclose allegations of abuse and receive needed medical treatment and services.

Restricted Reporting

Allows someone who meets VAP criteria and who is experiencing violence in his/her relationship to confidentially disclose the abuse to a Victim Advocate, a Victim Advocate Supervisor, or a Healthcare Provider. When an individual chooses a restricted report, law enforcement is not involved and there is no investigation of the abuse. In addition, the Soldier’s Command is not notified of the abuse and is unable to offer assistance and protection.

The restricted reporting option allows an individual to receive medical treatment, advocacy services and clinical and pastoral counseling. This option allows one to receive needed services, control the release of his/her personal information, and time to consider his/her options.

Under this reporting option, the offender is not held accountable and the abuse may continue. If an assessment reveals a high risk for future injury, a restricted report may not be granted.

Unrestricted Reporting

Victims of domestic abuse who want to pursue an official investigation of an incident should report the abuse to law enforcement, or the alleged offender’s Commander. The unrestricted reporting option provides a victim with the widest array of services available including but not limited to command involvement, law enforcement involvement, medical treatment, advocacy services, and counseling services.

Not all incidents of domestic abuse are the same, and each person who experiences domestic abuse handles the situation differently.

Command Response

Commanders play an integral part in ensuring the safety, health, and well being of our Army Families. Commanders who learn of an incident of domestic abuse are required to notify law enforcement.

Victim’s Rights

  • The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for your dignity and privacy.
  • The right to be reasonably protected from the accused offender.
  • The right to be notified of court proceedings.
  • The right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, unless the court determines that your testimony would be materially affected if you, as the victim, heard other testimony at trial.
  • The right to confer with the attorney for the government in the case; the right to available restitution; the right to information about the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, and release of the offender.

Safety Planning

A violent relationship puts you and your children at risk for injury and even death. Developing a safety plan tailored to meet the needs of your family will enable you get out of a potentially dangerous situation. If your children are old enough, mature enough, or even responsible enough to assist you during a violent or potentially violent episode of domestic abuse, you may consider including them in your plan to keep everyone safe. A good safety plan considers which steps to take if you choose to stay in the relationship or if you choose to leave.

Here are some tips during the explosive phase of domestic abuse:

  • Move to a room with easy access to an exit. Don't go to the kitchen, bathroom or near possible weapons.
  • Know the quickest route out of your home. Practice escaping that way.
  • Know the quickest route out of your workplace. Practice escaping that way. Domestic violence does not just occur in your home.
  • Pack a bag and have it ready. Keep it hidden but make it easy to grab quickly.
  • Tell your neighbors about your abuse and ask them to call the police when they hear a disturbance.
  • Have a code word to use with your kids, family and friends. They will know to call the police and get you help.
  • Know where you are going to go, if you ever have to leave.
  • Use your instincts.
  • You have the right to protect yourself and your children.

Develop a Safety Plan

Protection Orders

Military Protection Orders (MPO)
Unit Commanders may issue a Military Protective Order (MPO) to ensure the safety of service members, family members, and other individuals from the threat of domestic violence. An MPO is a written lawful order issued by a commander that orders a Soldier to avoid contact with his or her spouse or children. The commander should provide a written copy of the order within 24 hours of its issuance to the protected person, the Military Police and civilian law enforcement. An individual should report violations of the MPO to law enforcement.

Civilian Protection Orders (CPO)
A Civilian Order of Protection is an order signed by a Judge that directs an individual to stop abusing, stalking, harassing and/or committing acts of sexual violence against an individual. An individual may file a CPO against current or former spouse, someone that an individual shares a child in common, an individual with whom you have shared a residence with, someone related to you by blood or marriage or someone with whom you have dated or had intimate relations.

National Resources

  • United States Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women
  • National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
  • Stalking Resource Center
  • Statewide directory for laws, courts, emergency shelters, orders of protection
  • Battered Women's Justice Project
  • The Family Violence Prevention Fund
  • Women's Justice Center– Also is Spanish
  • Mind, Body, Spirit Empowered - Materials translated into many languages
  • Marriage and Equality – Materials translated into many languages
ACS Directory
ACS Program Phone Number
Army Emergency Relief +1 (573)596-3154
Army Family Action Plan +1 (573)596-0195
Army Volunteer Corps +1 (573)596-0613
Exceptional Family Member Program +1 (573)596-2784
Family Advocacy Program +1 (573)596-4274
Financial Readiness +1 (573)596-2078
New Parent Support Program +1 (573)596-5300
Relocation Readiness Program +1 (573)596-4950
Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program +1 (573)596-0212
Special Needs Accommodation Process +1 (573)596-0212
Soldier and Family Assistance Center +1 (573)596-0212
Survivor Outreach Services +1 (573)596-0195
Victim Advocacy Program +1 (573)596-0212

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