Life in the Military
Support for Families
Deployment and relocation are common aspects of life for service members and their families. Learn about the many programs and resources that help all involved acclimate to this lifestyle and prepare for these events.
Sponsors are service members who help relocated members and their families settle into new duty stations by welcoming them into the community and providing guidance. When relocating to a new duty station, service members have the opportunity to request a sponsor or they can have one assigned to them through their unit. Service members and sponsors are closely matched by rank and family status to ensure the most relevant information and advice are shared.
Special Needs Programs
Formally known as the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), this program offers support to military families with special needs by ensuring they get matched with locations that have adequate medical and educational resources. Enrollment in this program is mandatory for active-duty members with dependents who have special needs. Learn more about EFMP.
Family Training Programs
Whether it’s their first relocation/deployment experience or their fifth, service members and their families are always welcome to participate in family training programs offered on base. MilFam101 is one such program which provides guidance on educational opportunities, insights into community activities, advice on coping with moves and deployments, training for short-term crisis management, and overall information about life on base.
Chaplains are another resource dedicated to helping service members and their families feel welcome and supported throughout their durations at duty stations. Though they are religious leaders of a specific faith, they work with service members of all faiths to cultivate an environment of religious diversity.
The Motivation of Army Chaplains
U.S. Army Chaplains discuss how they provide spiritual support to other service members.Length 1:29 View Transcript
Military service means being there to serve the men and women in uniform, according to their First Amendment rights. So ensuring that religious freedom and that religious practice are encouraged and supported.
If they are Buddhist, or Hindu, or Islamic, or whatever their faith tradition is, we want to be able to help them connect with their religious choice, or their spiritual practice, whatever that may be.
The kind of relationship we have, the trust that we’re able to build within the ranks, and the confidentiality that we have has given me the chance to touch on some very deep and meaningful experiences.
We nurture the living, we care for the wounded, we honor the fallen. The greatest opportunity we are allowed as chaplains is to be able to lay to rest those who’ve served our nation, to be there when that soldier finishes the race. They’ve given all. They’ve given the full sacrifice. I am grateful to all the men and women who have committed themselves to either serve as a religious affairs specialist, a religious affairs NCO, or to serve as a chaplain in the United States Army. You are part of our legacy.
The Motivation of Army Chaplains
Yellow Ribbon Integration Program
Exclusive to National Guard and Reserve members and their families, the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) helps promote the well-being of military families by connecting them with resources they may need during times of deployment. This includes providing information on health care, education, financial and legal benefits, and also hosting events that help military families navigate all stages of deployment.
Family Readiness Groups
Family Readiness Groups (FRGs) are key support networks composed of service members and civilians that help establish open channels of communication between the unit command and family members. Though they go by different names across Service branches, their function is primarily the same: promoting the well-being of military families and helping them adjust to military life, regardless of service member activation status or where they are located.
Learn more about FRGs for each Service branch:
- Army: Soldier and Family Readiness Group (SFRG)
- Marine Corps: Unit, Personal, and Family Readiness Program (UPFRP)
- Navy: Family Readiness Group (FRG)
- Air Force: Airman and Family Readiness Program
- Coast Guard: Work Life Program
Family Separation Allowance
Service members who have dependents and are required to be away from their permanent duty station on an unaccompanied tour of duty for more than 30 days may be entitled to a Family Separation Allowance (FSA). Learn more about this additional type of compensation at defense.gov.
Through tools and resources offered by the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), U.S. citizen service members and eligible family members are able to exercise their right to vote in elections from anywhere in the world.
Other Support Programs
- Child & Youth Programs
These initiatives are designed to provide affordable instructional and educational programs for military children under the age of 18, and flexible child care for children above the age of two weeks.
- Military Spouse Employment Partnership
Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) is a Department of Defense recruitment and employment solution that connects military spouses with over 500 partners that are committed to recruiting, hiring and promoting them.
- Housing Early Assistance Tool (HEAT)
HEAT is a web-based tool that helps Navy and Air Force members and their families connect with housing offices to learn about options at their upcoming duty station.
- Family Readiness Center
These installation-based amenities are a one-stop shop for information and support needed by service members and families at a base station. They aim to enhance the well-being of the individuals and their families by educating and counseling them on a military lifestyle. Learn more about the Military Family Readiness System.
- Nonprofit Organization Support: There are many charitable and nonprofit support organizations dedicated to serving military members and their families. While the Department of Defense does not endorse or recommend any specific organization, members may consult reputable charity evaluation services when looking to fulfill specific needs.