Air Force family support centers may be called something different these days, but Airmen and their families can still expect the same quality services they have received in the past.
“Family centers today support and maintain mission readiness,” said Brenda Liston, chief of community support and family readiness at the Pentagon. “They assist individuals and families adapt to the challenges and demands of our transforming military community and consult with leadership to provide services specific to the immediate and long-term readiness of the organization and its members.”
Previously known as family support centers, the organizations now are called Airman and Family Readiness Flights. The new name reflects a change in focus and scope that has been evolving since Desert Shield/Storm in the early ‘90s. The changes were formalized in 2003 when A&FR flights transformed to a community readiness consultation model.
Staff members now provide consultation services to commanders and assist in developing policies, services and processes which enhance individual, family and community readiness. Traditional services such as the Relocation and Transition Assistance Programs, personal financial management, Air Force Aid, spouse employment and personal and family life education remain the foundation of service delivery.
The centers also have opened up to accommodate the Total Force.
“The scope of responsibility has widened to include all Department of Defense military and civilian personnel and families,” said Ms. Liston, “as well as Guard, Reserve, other eligible uniformed members, military retirees and their eligible family members.”
During testimony on Capitol Hill earlier this year, the top general responsible for family support stressed the importance of taking care of Airmen and their families, too.
“In war, our top priorities are to accomplish the mission and to take care of our people,” said Lt. Gen. Roger Brady, deputy chief of staff for personnel. “Back on the home front, the best thing we can do to support the men and women who are in harm’s way is to take care of their families.”
Ms. Liston said she is proud of the group of Airmen and civilians who work hard to provide support for families.
“Our Airman and Family Readiness staff do a great job of accomplishing that dictate,” she said.