Above and beyond - Deployment support service changes won’t affect Family help

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Installation Management Command recently announced that some of the deployment support services previously available to deployed Soldiers’ Families have changed as of Oct. 1.

Families registered for services before the Sunday deadline, however, will continue receiving the benefits that were previously available, according to Jessica Jackson, director of Outreach services.

Jackson said the services benefit Families of deployed Soldiers and only those affiliated with the Army are allowed to use them.

Before the changes went into effect, one of the Families received 16 free respite care hours per month. After the 16 hours were used up, the normal $4-per-hour charge for child care would drop to $2 per hour.

“Deployment support services also involved our (warrior transition unit.) They would automatically go into a Category I fee, which is the lower reduction for childcare fees. That will no longer happen,” said Jackson. “WTU Soldiers will not have to fit in the category based on the income they are receiving.”

The 16 respite care hours per month will remain but the reduced fee will no longer be available. Rather, they will be charged the normal rate of $4 per hour for child care. The five monthly hours of respite care for rear detachment cadre and recruiters will also no longer be available.

She pointed out the program isn’t going away but certain benefits that were available to Soldiers and Family members will be no longer be available to them.

“We will still be able to provide services to the community,” said Jackson. “We are trying to make sure we are able to do what we can for child care to help all of our Soldiers and Families in need.”

The change has also affected SKIES Unlimited and youth sports and fitness programs. The reduction fees for those programs are no longer available. In fact, Jackson said they had to increase some of the fees in the SKIES Unlimited program.

Although there was an increase in fees in SKIES Unlimited, Jackson said before that was done they conducted a business case to compare what services are being offered outside of the installation and how much is being charged.

“We are still cheaper than what’s being offered on the outside,” Jackson said according to the results from the business case. “We are explaining to parents the benefits their children receive even with the price increase.”

Jackson pointed out they are always trying to accommodate Families within the SKIES Unlimited and youth sports and fitness programs.

“Even though things have to change,” Jackson said, “CYS is prepared and will still continue to provide the care and safety needed for all the children to make sure we are reaching the requirements above and beyond.”