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Fort Drum gets certification for Soldier and Family Readiness Division

Fort Drum. (Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs Photo)
February 21, 2023

Fort Drum has earned certification from the Department of Defense for its Military Family Readiness Programs, meaning the post has met all national standards for support services to the community.

The certification is required for an Army installation to continue to have a family readiness program, and is renewed every four years.

The Fort Drum Soldier and Family Readiness Division was established in 2020 under the Directorate of Human Resources, making this certification the first since it was established.

The process for certification began six months after the merging of Army Community Service and the Army Substance Abuse Program, and transitioned to SFRD.

“During that time, we were able to look at the services we had in place, regulatory requirements and the supporting documents that we had,” SFRD chief Lorilyn Starr said in a news release. “We had already begun to consolidate and improve in all of our functional areas.”

Ms. Starr called Rich Stepanek, Family Resource Center operations officer, and Christine Robinson, Employee Assistance coordinator, instrumental in the certification process.

“This process really serves as a quality assurance and utilization assessment,” Ms. Starr said in the release. “Failure to obtain certification can potentially lead to the degradation of services and a decrease in funding. It also provided a platform in which to showcase the benefit of merging the two programs and realigning services. We essentially did more with less.”

The certification was also challenging because Fort Drum was selected to participate in the pilot program that evaluated installations with more rigorous Department of Defense standards.

Ms. Starr said certification standards have changed and this was the first time that any installation was assessed using the new criteria.

“The merger actually allowed us to streamline and enhance our efforts,” Ms. Starr said in the release. “We merged all prevention programs to form the Installation Prevention Council. This was a unique effort specific to Fort Drum, and IMCOM had no prior experience reviewing the products we were submitting.

SFRD provides resources to the community that are designed to enhance the quality of life, and to promote resilience and self-reliance. Services include Army Emergency Relief, Relocation Readiness, Mobilization and Deployment, Family Advocacy, and the Exceptional Family Member, Financial Readiness and Army Substance Abuse programs.

“It has been a remarkable experience helping to develop the SFRD for our community, and I was honored to be a part of the certification process,” Mr. Stepanek said in the release. “It means a lot to the entire team to achieve certification and I know, going forward, we will continue to provide the highest quality of life programming and services for our soldiers, family members, retirees and civilians at Fort Drum.”


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