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Home : News : News
NEWS | Jan. 29, 2020

Family Advocacy Program: wealth of resources a phone call away

By 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

“I had a man, an Air Force officer, call me one time. He said to me – I’m working long hours at work, I have two small children at home. I’m stressed and I’m worried I’ll take it out on my family. 

“I need your help.”

According to Craig Hodge-Young, Family Advocacy Program domestic abuse victim advocate, this is exactly what he would like to see. Since this man came early, prior to an incident of maltreatment, Young was able to meet with him and provide all of the resources and services family advocacy has to offer.

“The Defense Department recognizes that military members aren’t immune to things not going well at home,” Hodge-Young said. 

“That kind of thing affects all aspects of your life, including the mission. We are a place to go to prevent any maltreatment from happening and to help people be happy in their relationships and at home,” added Chantelle Stoops, Family Advocacy outreach manager. 

With that in mind, Family Advocacy does everything it can to establish or further develop a healthy relationship. Their program offers limited counseling and classes in anger management and communication, as well as parenting classes and get-togethers. 

One program Stoops is particularly proud of is their New Parent Support Program, which is open to active duty parents with children younger than 3. The program offers home nurse visits that provide any advice or help a new parent needs, including deployment resources, safe sleep practices, child development questions and breastfeeding help. 

Stoops and Hodge-Young recommend seeking these resources before they are needed. 

“Being a new parent or a new spouse is an overwhelming thing,” Stoops said, recalling her own experience with her two sons. “Add deployments and separations and military life into the mix and it can be very hard.”

Should a maltreatment incident occur and a family or couple is referred to Family Advocacy, Hodge-Young, Stoops and their team are ready to help with victim advocates trained to respond with compassion and sensitivity. At their fingertips are a wealth of resources for the whole family.

“I would like to stress that we are not punitive,” Hodge-Young said. “We are not here to make recommendations to commanders. We are here to advocate on the victim’s behalf, whatever they may need. We are not career ending, we are here to help families and give them tools so this doesn’t happen.”

Their help doesn’t only apply to married couples with children, nor is it exclusively for physical abuse. Anyone can reach out to Family Advocacy who feels they need it. The partner could be a boyfriend or girlfriend. The abuse could be stalking, cyber harassment, feeling controlled or afraid – anything that constitutes an unhealthy relationship.

For a full schedule of classes or a list of resources, call the Family Advocacy Program office at 210-292-0418. Anyone experiencing domestic abuse should call the victim advocate hotline at 210-367-1213.