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The strength and resilience of our family members on the home front provides critical support to our Coast Guard men and women. It allows them to successfully carry out critical operations every day ensuring the nation's safety and security.
In my role as Coast Guard Ombudsman-at-Large, I have visited several units and met with Coast Guard spouses all over the country who have described to me some of the challenges many of our families face in providing this support. The Coast Guard is working hard to address these issues, and I'd like to take this opportunity to provide a quick snapshot of where we are today.
As part of our effort to improve housing for our families, the Coast Guard recently completed a comprehensive national housing assessment of Coast Guard-owned family housing to ensure it meets all of the needs of our families. The Coast Guard is also using new statutory authority to sell excess housing and land and use the proceeds from such sales to improve other Coast Guard housing.
Child care is a concern I often hear about, and the Coast Guard is making improvements to the in-home Family Child Care program. We also have plans to hire additional training and curriculum specialists to ensure continued accreditation of the Coast Guard's nine child development centers.
We all face challenges in life, and sometimes we need help to deal with them before they negatively affect our health, relationships or job performance. To ensure getting assistance is as easy as possible, the Coast Guard recently launched the one-stop CG SUPRT program (Solutions, Understanding, Prevention, Resilience, Trust). CG SUPRT provides free, confidential professional counseling, education and referral services to active-duty, selected reserve and civilian personnel and their family members, 24 hours a day, 365 days year.
Some of the services:
1. Professional, confidential counseling for a variety of issues such as marital and family problems, depression, legal issues, career transition and stress.
2. Health coaching to promote better health through smoking cessation, exercise, weight loss and stress reduction.
3. Assistance with finding elder care and child care services, moving and other life demands.
4. Personal financial management services including credit, debt and retirement planning.
5. Online solutions with access to thousands of relevant articles, tip sheets, self-assessments, audio clips and videos.
CG SUPRT can be accessed by calling 855-CGSUPRT (247-8778) or going online to www.cgsuprt.com. Please check it out.
Improving benefits and services is important, but just as important is getting this information to our Coast Guard families. Key in this process are our volunteer ombudsmen, who are now supported by two new regional ombudsman coordinators to support program implementation in the field, and our full-time program manager who continues to recruit, train and support our dedicated ombudsmen.
I very much look forward to my future unit visits to meet more Coast Guard family members and to hear firsthand how we can continue to improve our family programs. I am passionate about advocating for our Coast Guard families, and I will continue to embrace the collective national effort to highlight the importance of military families.