Family Advocacy Program: Wealth of resources a phone call away

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Taylor Hunter
  • 4th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron

SEYMOUR JOHNSON, N.C.- - U.S. service members can encounter many stressors that may lead to actions out of the ordinary.

“Many baseline triggers that we find in the family situations we see stem from last-minute deployments, losing colleagues on the battlefield or losing touch with family through separation,” said Kim Lawrence, 4th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron family advocacy program domestic abuse victim advocate.”

The Family Advocacy Program at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, supports service members and their families by offering programs aimed at preventing destructive behavior, parenting, couples growth and family development.

“Primarily, we deal with issues of abuse, neglect, and maltreatment,” said Jerome Ellis, 4th OMRS family advocacy program officer. “If any of those issues are identified within the air force family, we do an assessment of that particular situation and make recommendations to their commanders or first sergeants as to how we can better assist the family and hopefully prevent those things from happening again in the future.”

The FAP provides help through prevention, early identification, intervention, support for victims and treatment for abusers. Along with providing support and treatment, the program also offers preventative services like the new parent support program, anger management and couple classes.

“We do classes such as ‘parenting with love and logic’ or ‘how to avoid marrying a jerk”, said Ellis. “We have a new parents program for those with children up to age three and for those expecting.”

Ensuring Airmen get the care they need doesn’t come without challenges. Perception is one the FAP team overcomes daily. Understanding that prevention is key. The FAP team offers resources for Airmen enduring very stressful times but may fear seeking help with the FAP.

“When you have an organization such as this, we often hear about the negative things that happen but when there are a lot more people that we help then we actually cause problems for,” said Ellis. “The most rewarding part is the people that are actually coming to us on their own. We will individualize a plan for anybody that actually comes to us for those particular services and we do that on a case by case basis.”

The program coordinators want to reach out into the Seymour Johnson AFB community more and educate service members on the benefits of using FAP and reduce the often thought stigma attached to the program.

“As a home-visiting nurse, the most rewarding thing for me is when I go into the home and I see some of the education that I’ve provided to these families and see them gaining confidence in what they've learned,” said Shirvon Holland, 4th OMRS family advocacy program nurse.

For more information about FAP, call the 4th Medical Group office at 722-6840 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.