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Army One Source: your link to info.

FIRST came the Internet, with quick and easy access to information. Then came Army One Source--staffed by real people with the insight to understand users' needs and the skill to provide situation-specific help.

"Most people can research solutions to problems alone. But it takes time, and often involves a lot of frustration," said Carla Cary, a Family Advocacy Program specialist at the Army Community and Family Support Center in Alexandria, Va.

AOS is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week information and referral service for active-duty, National Guard and Reserve Soldiers, family members and deployed civilians. It's available via phone or at www. armyonesource.com And it's free.

"This isn't a phone tree. Calls are answered by licensed, professional consultants who are ready to help," Cary said.

Consultants trained in social work or psychology assist callers with such issues as parenting, relocation, addiction, deployment/reintegration and such everyday issues as finding a plumber. Calls are confidential unless they deal with domestic violence, or harm to oneself or others.

With her husband deployed to Kuwait and an impending move last year, Army spouse Krisin Dundon called AOS.

"I had so many stumbling blocks, and the consultant answered 20 totally different questions," she said. Her needs ranged from information on selling a home and filing a tax return to finding schools for her children in the new area.

"Your quick answers and advice were my only port in a storm," Dundon told her AOS consultant.

So far, deployment and separation top the list of issues callers need assistance with, said Ron White, program director at Ceridian, the company that operates AOS.

"Our goal is to make a difference in the lives of the people we touch and to improve readiness and retention. We're very proud to say that we're working with Soldiers and families, particularly during this time of heavy deployment," White said.

AOS users needing counseling can request face-to-face, resolution-focused sessions with a social worker outside the military environment but located within a 30-minute radius.

"Short-term counseling services usually aren't available on post, so that's where AOS bridges the gap," Cary said.

Counseling is limited to six sessions and is intended for such issues as marital problems, grief, loss and adjusting to change. Unmarried Soldiers may also use the counseling for couple issues, though AOS will cover the cost for Soldiers only. Abuse and suicide issues are referred to local medical facilities.

AOS services supplement those of installation Army Community Services, which aren't always accessible to off-post families or open when needed. Callers needing help with creditors, financial planning and parent education classes will still be referred to ACS. And each ACS also has a point of contact to help AOS counselors stay current on military issues that may affect callers.

"Part of our success in providing information and consultation comes from our partnership with the Army and its existing resources," White said.

AOS Online offers financial calculators; tools for locating childcare services, youth camps, nursing homes and medical facilities; and other resources. Users may also access AOS Online to schedule a call with consultants. To enter the Web site, enter "Army" as the user ID and "onesource" as the password.

"I think AOS is a great tool for commanders and ACS personnel, because it supplements what we already offer," said Cary. "And from a social worker's perspective, it's good that we can assist people before their issues really become problems."
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
Article Details
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Title Annotation:www.armyonesource.com
Author:Reece, Beth
Publication:Soldiers Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2004
Words:566
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